Happy as Lazzaro ★★★★

A deeply moving, empathetic film of contrasts. By juxtaposing the bleak economic realities of rural, post-war Italy with an urban, modernized one, Alice Rohrwacher thrusts the blunt honesty of Italian Neorealism into a cruel 21st century, wherein we're left to decide if all of society's progress and advancement have truly improved the plight of the disadvantaged. Through the perpetually unassuming, unchanging eyes of Lazzaro, we're presented a vision of humanity where kindness will always be exploited and innocence can only be trampled. The virtue of a sweet, simple Lazzaro will forever be incongruous in a society that devours its own.