Sunday, 10 May 2009

La vita è bella (Life is Beautiful) *****

Roberto Benigni brings us a film that's not only delightfully pleasant, but heart-warming, insightful and very funny. It is an Italian production released in 1999 that brings together a complete opposite couple, and the devastation that the Nazi death camps had over so many individuals.

Now I know what you're thinking... Death camps and delightful don't exactly go together, but somehow in this wonderful little film it does. The happiness comes entirely from Guido Orefice (Benigni) who is a lovesick husband and father trying to make his son as happy as possible in the camp, whilst cater to his lost wife.

The film starts off showing what life is like for Giudo; which includes many comical scenes, and expressions of pure love for his interest Dora (Nicoletta Braschi). It's optimistic, upbeat and brilliant light entertainment for the whole family. And as it begins to develop into the camp scenes, this feeling continues to grow through that passion expressed from Guido. As well as this, it's perfect for introducing the topic of death camps to a younger audiences, as they have the child Giosue (Giorgio Cantarini) to relate to, and are not too traumatised by the subject.

Don't get me wrong, this film in no way condones the issue, but instead it offers an alternative plotline to what we have been previously given from similar based storylines. It shows how one person can have the drive to make his loved ones so happy, that he in return becomes happy from their reactions. It shows how one individual can change someones life through thoughtful little gestures. And it shows how someone can make the best of a bad situation.

Benigni not only starred in this film, but directed and co-wrote it. His pure intelligence to the script, as well as the cinematography and acting makes it so easy to watch, you become immersed in the story. You soon realise after witnessing this film that Hollywood movies aren't all they're cracked up to be. This has a real authentic and original script that brings a new dimension to film. And with the fact that this film is Italian, it gives a sense of culture to the experience.

So do yourself a favor, get a copy and watch it! Just make sure you're willing to read subtitles throughout.

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