LOCARNO, Switzerland – Italian director Alice Rohrwacher (“The Wonders”) has started principal photography on “Lazzaro Felice,” about a man living on the margins of society who travels through time. The film’s European A-list ensemble cast comprises Sergi Lopez (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) of Spain and Alba Rohrwacher (“I Am Love”) and Nicoletta Braschi (“Life Is Beautiful”) of Italy.
Germany’s The Match Factory will be selling “Lazzaro” internationally outside Italy.
Cameras started rolling Monday in the central Italian countryside near Civita di Bagnoregio, a scenic ancient village perched on an eroding tufa rock plateau.
Rohrwacher is collaborating with her regular director of photography, Helene Louvart, who is also known for work with auteurs such as Wim Wenders, Agnes Varda and Claire Denis.
The director wrote the screenplay last year while she was the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Jaeger-LeCoultre’s filmmaker in residence. Details of the story are being kept under wraps beyond the fact that it’s about the present from the point of view of a man who travels through time for about 50 years, but it’s not science fiction. It also takes place in summer and winter within both the countryside and a city.
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Rohrwacher, who at 35 is Italy’s most prominent young director, originally wrote for theater and worked as a musician before getting into filmmaking, initially as a documentary editor. Her first feature, coming-of-age drama “Corpo Celeste,” premiered in the Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight in 2011, and went on to play several major festivals such as Sundance and New York. Her second feature, “The Wonders,” a look at a young girl growing up on a bee farm, won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2016 she directed her first opera, a new version of “La Traviata” for Teatri di Reggio Emilia.
“Lazzaro” is being produced by Carlo Cresto-Dina through his Bologna-based Tempesta Film in association with Rai Cinema. It’s a four-country co-production between Italy, France (Ad Vitam Production), Switzerland (Amka Films Productions), and Germany (Pole Pandora), with financing from several funds, including Germany’s Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Eurimages, and Italy’s Mibact and Rome-Lazio Film Commission.