Alice Rohrwacher to Screen Alfonso Cuaron-Produced Short Pupils at Cannes

Alice Rohrwacher, the Italian director whose “The Wonders” and “Happy as Lazzaro” both won prizes at Cannes, is returning to the festival with “The Pupils,” a short film that will screen during her masterclass in the “Rendez-vous With…” section.

Penned and directed by Rohrwacher, the 37-minute short is backed by Disney, and was produced by Alfonso Cuaron and Carlo Cresto-Dina. It boasts a cast that includes Alba Rohrwacher, actor-director Valeria Bruni Tedeschi — whose latest movie is competing at the festival — Melissa Falasconi, Carmen Pommella, Greta Zuccheri Montanari, Luciano Vergaro — aka “Catirre” — and Tatiana Lepore.

Shot in Super 16 and in 35mm format, “The Pupils” is a facetious coming-of-age fable that follows rebellious little girls at a Catholic boarding school in the run-up to Christmas in a time of scarcity and war.

Rohrwacher said she ventured into “Pupils” after Cuaron asked her if she would like to make a short film about the Christmas holidays. “The image of a large pink cake came immediately to mind: the cake was on a table and many fascinated pupils were staring at it.”

“It’s a film about desires, pure and selfish, about freedom and devotion, about the anarchy that is capable of flowering in the minds of each one of them within the confines of the strict boarding school,” Rohrwacher said. She added that “although the obedient girls can’t move, their pupils can dance the unrestrained dance of freedom.”

Rohrwacher made her feature debut with “Corpo Celeste” in 2011 and went on to present “The Wonders” in competition at Cannes three years later, winning the Grand Prix du Jury. She returned to the Cannes competition with “Happy as Lazzaro,” which won the best screenplay award. She also served on the Cannes jury in 2019, which was presided over by Alejandro González Iñárritu.

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