The Right to Happiness

Poster for The Right to Happiness

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The Right to Happiness centers on a small used book store in a small plaza in a small town with big vistas, somewhere in Italy. It sounds like a book lover's fantasy, and maybe it is. The bookseller, Libero, knows most of his rather eccentric customers and can barely bring himself to take their money (although fascists pay double). When a young boy, Essien (Didie Lorenz Tchumbu), an émigré from Burkina Faso, happens on the shop, Libero begins lending him books of increasing difficulty. From Pinocchio to Moby Dick, Essien can read as fast as Libero can lend, and the two form a bond over reading and meaning. "Books should be read twice," Libero says. "Once to understand them, and once to think." Life should probably be lived like that too, but the bookseller's name means "free," and freedom is what Libero bequeaths to Essien.

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Italian / 81 min / 2023

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