A touching story of an Italian book seller of Jewish ancestry who lives in his own little fairy tale. His creative and happy life would come to an abrupt halt when his entire family is deported to a concentration camp during World War II. While locked up he tries to convince his son that the whole thing is just a game.
|Original Title||:||La vita è bella|
|Release Date||:||December 20, 1997|
|Production Company||:||Miramax Films, Melampo Cinematografica|
|Director||:||Roberto Benigni, Gianni Arduini|
|Writers||:||Roberto Benigni, Vincenzo Cerami|
|Casts||:||Nicoletta Braschi, Roberto Benigni, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano, Amerigo Fontani, Sergio Bini Bustric, Lidia Alfonsi, Horst Buchholz, Pietro De Silva, Marisa Paredes, Giuliana Lojodice, Francesco Guzzo, Adelaide Alaïs, Verena Buratti, Hannes Hellmann, Wolfgang Hillinger, Antonio Prester, Gina Rovere, Laura Susanne Ruedeberg, Richard Sammel, Andrea Tidona, Dirk K. van den Berg, Omero Antonutti|
|Plot Keywords||:||italy, riddle, bookshop, self sacrifice, mass murder, concentration camp, bicycle accident, fascism, loss of father, world war ii, love of one's life, deportation, jew persecution, fantasy, nazis, national socialism, arezzo, charade, riding a bicycle, price, story teller, concentration camp prisoner, dying and death, title spoken by character, peekaboo|
I typically don't care much for sub-titled movies. Foreign films to me are slow and about nothing. So I naturally went to see Life is Beautiful with a chip on my shoulder. I wanted to hate it. I wanted it to be just another movie that Hollywood was praising to show that they were an intelligent bunch of people. Oh boy was I in for the surprise of my life. Not only is this film good, I honestly believe that it was the second best film of 98, next to Saving Private Ryan. The mere fact that Shakespeare in Love won best picture over not only Ryan but over this, is a joke. It's actually funny.
Benigni did everything in this film. He wrote, produced, directed and probably swept the floors at night. There is that much raw energy in this film. There really is. For someone to have that kind of vision is truly incredible. And not only is the film a terrific cinematic experience because of the importance and seriousness of the subject matter, but it is one of the funnier films I've ever seen. When Roberto is translating the German soldiers insructions to his son so that he isn't scared, it is at that moment that you realize you are under his spell. He's got you and no matter how much sceptisism you may have about the film you know you're witnessing a classic in every sense of the word.
I loved this film. Loved everything about it and I am so glad that I got to see it and cheer Benigni at the Oscars. He certainly deserved his best actor award and he should have gotten more.