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Happy as Lazzaro and The Mumbai Murders

By Rosslyn Hyams

In November's Cinefile RFI's Rosslyn Hyams speaks to Alicia Rohrwacher, Italy's fairytale filmmaker about Happy as Lazzaro and Indian director Anurag Kashya's, more brutal style in The Mumbai Murders. Click on the arrow on the photo to hear the interviews.

Alicia Rohrwacher on Happy as Lazzaro

You can count on 36-year-old Alicia Rohrwacher for a miracle.

Lazzaro Felice, or Happy as Lazzaro doesn't disappoint. A wonderful miracle occurs as Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo) resusscitates after a fall on a lonely hillside and is rescued by a fairy-tale wolf to find that his family has left behind the world of innocence that they knew.

They have had to go out and fend for themselves after the feudal Marquesa falls on hard times.

They may have lived frugally and in isolation before, but on the outskirts of the city, they are truely excluded. One character intercedes: "People only realise they have been slaves when they are free."

"We use fables because what is happening in Italy these days is so extreme, that it's difficult to imagine that it's real, so maybe just fairy-tales can be useful to understand the reality in this moment and imagine another end of the story," she says, "I hope we will always be free to talk. The problem is [whether or not] there are people listening."

If you aren't up to speed on the politics of Italy, the film has plenty of universal hooks to grab, as well as pleasant decors, grass, trees, a decrepit mansion and a curious shelter by the ring road cobbled together out of recycled bits and bobs.

Rohrwacher is joined again by her actress sister, Alba in the second part of the film. She seems to fit the picture each time.

"When I wrote the script I never thought of her. It was because we met Agnesse Graziani, the character of young Antonia. I was very touched by Agnesse as a beautiful human being, but also because she was so similar to my sister. So they asked them to be the same character. I would love to write a movie about my sister, but in these two movies she arrives after the writing, as big beautiful surprise."

The Cannes Film Festival 2018 gave two Best Screenplay Awards in 2018. One went to Happy as Lazzaro, the other to Iranian director Jafar Panahi's 3 Faces.

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The Mumbai Murders

Anurag Kashyap is happily continuing his career as director and producer and making small-screen Netflix pix as well as cinema releases.

The Mumbai Murders (2016) is a tough one to watch. A serial killer (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is hunted by drug-riddled cop (Vicky Kushal).

Some of the scenes are extremely cruel, eye-shutting stuff. As the film is Hindi, if you close your eyes you also miss the translated dialogue in the subtitles.

"I do not like the superhero violence at all, because violence is painful, its repelling, it's extreme, but we make it palatable. You don't see the true nature of violence," he says.

Siddiqui as the 1960s unhinged serial killer, seems to reach a peak of unpalatable nastiness and is reputed to have suffered personally during and after the making of the film.

Kashyap, as in previous bad or ineffective-cop and worse-villain films, cracks a pace and spirals away in a tornado of brutality. Getting beyond that, the twists and turns in the narration allow some intellectual respite from the emotional battering.

One of his latest films released in India is called Manmarziyaan, a complicated by traditional triangular love-rivalry story, and stars Vicky Kushal, Tapsee Pannu and Abishek Bacchhan.

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