LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, 1997
A Jewish man has a wonderful romance with the help of his humour, but must use that same quality to protect his son in a Nazi death camp.
CLICK HERE and watch 2009 MOVIES FOR FREE!
Before the onset of plot summary, and technical analysis, I just want to try and convey the feeling I have for this film, without neither under or overstatement. On many levels people could acknowledge a certain aspect of the film and its surrounding press and come to unsatisfying conclusions. It may well be a war film, a holocaust film, more accurately. Therefore you may also deduce that it is tragic and dramatic. You may know a little more and understand it to be a comedy. Its an award winning foreign language film. However, the success and power of this film transcends all those things because when you are watching it, you are totally immersed in this wonderful tale. And how many films set amongst the backdrop of one of the most atrocious events the world has ever seen can say that?
Roberto Benigniís masterpiece follows his charming character Guido, as he waltzís, chaplinesque, into town to make his way in the world and subsequently try and win over the woman of his desires, Dora. Iím giving nothing away when I say he succeeds and they are happily in matrimony with a young son, Giosue, when the crux of the film really takes hold. That crux is the terrifying emergence of the Nazi Party and a wave of anti-Semitism which, unfortunately for the Jewish Guido and his Son, snares them into a concentration camp.
Throughout the first sections there is mention of the unsettled nature of Germany which is clearly starting to infiltrate Italy, its when we pick up the story five years later that we see the full extent of the Naziís influence and terror campaign. Guido and his family, now including five year old Giosue, are happily living with his uncle until Guido, of Jewish origin is arrested, along with his son. Guido being the man he is tries to keep the true horror from his young son by making out the trauma they are going through is a game. It is a situation of sweet sorrow and one that you canít help but smile through the tears.
Benigniís performance canít be underestimated. His attempt to remain optimistic and portray their ordeal as some sort of game to his son, is on the one hand playful and full of humour. And on the other it is just heart-breaking. Never has a film made you laugh so hard and want to cry so much. The optimism the film promotes is inspiring. And around the truly great script and the unrivalled performance of Benigni is a consummate piece of filmmaking. No tricks are needed as the most important element is the story and how many films could learn from that, put the characters and the story first and the rest will follow.