Women directors are still rare in Italy, a subject that Alice Rohrwacher thinks should be addressed with executives who greenlight films rather than filmmakers. Given her success, it is ironic that Rohrwacher wasn’t a film student, nor did she grow up obsessed with films. Instead, she studied classical literature and worked in theater before becoming a director almost by accident. She shot and edited a documentary about circus performers mainly because she enjoyed hanging out with them.
Her first feature, made at the suggestion of a producer, was Corpo Celeste (2011), about a young girl immersed in a crash course in Catholicism. Her next film The Wonders (2014), about a beekeeping family whose lives are upended by a reality TV crew and a teenaged boy, was loosely based on Rohrwacher’s own childhood growing up in a beekeeping family. The film earned several nominations and won awards at film festivals around the world, including Abu Dhabi, The AFI Fest and the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix in 2014. As of 2020, Alice Rohrwacher is working on the Italian television program My Brilliant Friend, which is set in the early 1950s.