Netflix acquires Cannes winners Happy As Lazzaro and Girl
James R | On 20, May 2018
Netflix may not have been at Cannes this year, but the streaming giant was out in force on the closing weekend of the French film festival, snapping up the rights to not just one award winner but two.
Happy as Lazzaro, which premiered In Competition and was awarded Best Screenplay for Alice Rohrwacher, and Girl, which premiered in Un Certain Regard and won Best Actor for Victor Polster and the Camera d’Or for Best First Film for director Lukas Dhont, have both been acquired by Netflix. UK subscribers, though, won’t be able to enjoy them on Netflix, as the streaming service has only bought the rights to North America and Latin America.
Happy as Lazzaro is the tale of a meeting between Lazzaro, a young peasant so good that he is often mistaken for simple-minded, and Tancredi, a young nobleman cursed by his imagination. Life in their isolated pastoral village Inviolata is dominated by the terrible Marchesa Alfonsina de Luna, the queen of cigarettes. A loyal bond is sealed when Tancredi asks Lazzaro to help him orchestrate his own kidnapping. This strange and improbable alliance is a revelation for Lazzaro. A friendship so precious that it will travel in time and transport Lazzaro in search of Tancredi. His first time in the big city, Lazzaro is like a fragment of the past lost in the modern world.
Writer and director Alice Rohrwacher was awarded Best Screenplay for Happy as Lazzaro (it was a tie with Nader Saeivar for 3 Faces). Rohrwacher is no stranger to Cannes, having directed Le Meraviglie (The Wonders), the winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 festival. Her first feature Corpo Celeste also made its world premiere in the Directors’ Fortnight (Cannes 2011).
Happy as Lazzaro stars Adriano Tardiolo, Luca Chikovani, Alba Rohrwacher and Agnese Graziani. The deal was brokered by The Match Factory, which is handling international sales.
Lukas Dhont’s double-winner in the Un Certain Regard strand was also awarded this year’s Queer Palm award, which selects its winner from all LGBTQ-themed films across the official selection of the Cannes film festival, Un Certain Regard, Directors’ Fortnight, Critics’ Week and the unofficial ACID section.
It follows determined 15-year-old Lara, who is committed to becoming a professional ballerina. With the support of her father, she throws herself into this quest for the absolute at a new school. Lara’s adolescent frustrations and impatience are heightened as she realises her body does not bend so easily to the strict discipline because she was born a boy.
The film stars Victor Polster, Arieh Worthalter, Oliver Bodart, Tijmen Govaerts, Katelijne Damen, Valentijn Dhaenens, Magali Elali and Alice de Broqueville, with Dhont co-writing the script alongside Angelo Tijssens.