When a controversial cult leader builds a utopian city in the Oregon desert, conflict with the locals escalates into a national scandal.
We don’t learn exactly what drew so many affluent young people to the Bhagwan Rajneesh’s commune or how that led to the takeover of a tiny Oregon town in the mid-1980s. But amidst impressive archival footage and contemporary sensationalism, this fascinating series bears neutral witness to an entire city being built from scratch, then dismantled. Whole worlds -- of rural prejudice, criminal opportunism, gun love, legal overreach, and genuine idealism -- are compressed in a still-too-skimpy six-plus hours. The late Christopher Hitchens (audio book excerpted here), who joined briefly, recalled an ashram sign reading “Leave shoes and minds at the door.”
Purehearted teen Lazzaro is content living as a sharecropper in rural Italy, but an unlikely friendship with the marquise's son will change his world.
One of the best films of 2018 and hailed as an instant classic when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, Happy as Lazzaro is a sensual and poetic work of magical realism that cleverly injects hints of fantasy into its otherwise grounded decades-spanning tale of friendship. With a beautifully ethereal Super 16mm aesthetic, the third feature from rising talent Alice Rohrwacher is a refreshingly original modern fable that feels utterly timeless.
Cannes Film Festival