Life is Beautiful (1997)

Good day blogosphere, today 6th July I start my first blog post, my blog will be like many out there but I’ll try for it not to be.

My posts will be about films from all around the world, no I am not a film critic, I just love movies, Hollywood, Bollywood, Japanese and French and am constantly looking to broaden my horizons. If I watch a film I like and I feel is worth writing about, I shall. I am not a proffessional, so my insight into camera work will not be great but I shall do my best to keep you reading.

Let me start with a movie not many know of, but I hope people who read this will be inspired to watch it.

I had never heard of this film or its director and star Robert Benigini. I must say his direction and acting his brilliant, it will bring tears to your eyes with the heart wrenching and simultaneously heart warming script by him and Vincenzo Cerami.

The film is set in the years preceding World War 2 and carries on into it. It revolves around a Jewish man named Guido who starts as a waiter in the Italian city of Arezzo, with dreams of starting a bookstore. The first quarter of the movie is simple and hilarious as he attempts to woo a young local school teacher(who on further research turned out be Bengini’s real wife Nicoletta Braschi !!) which turns out to be a challenge. The daughter of a rich aristocrat and engaged to be engaged to  a civil servant of her social standard, with the life of a ‘principessa’ as he lovingly calls her. Yet like the hero of every movie his comic antics cause her to fall for him, they climb onto a green horse and trot out of her engagement part to his Uncle’s palatial manor. The movie has a further feel good aura as the years pass till the Nazis roll in and the story progresses…the key points being a concentration camp, Guido’s lovely charm and his adorable but annoying young son. Bengini’s acting from here on will make you amaze you and his direction will make your jaw drop a couple feet as he tries to keep his son from feeling the pain and hardship of a concentration camp and hides him from the soldiers so he isn’t gassed like the rest. The film shows the extent a man can go to, to protect his family and make them feel secure even at times of intense hardship.

The movie is a must watch for all who call themselves a movie lover. Neither his family nor the audience is allowed to feel the misery in the concentration camps since he constantly keeps an element of humor running through the film, in the first few scenes Benigini’s direction will almost make you forget the obvious path the film is supposed to take. The playful and comic images and moments in a clearly depressing climate even make the cloudy days seem bright.

Life is Beautiful is feel good movie in every sense of the term and was my introduction to Italian cinema(don’t worry there are plenty of dubbed versions around). A Grand Jury Winner at 1997 Cannes Film Festival and incomparable to films based around similar circumstances- Schinder’s List, The Pianist. The movie ends with a heart warming feeling rather than a heart wrenching one, inspite of everything you see happening around the three primary characters, they are so well portrayed and lovable, the audience is in constant fear of losing one of them while they shed tears from the sorrow and joy in the brilliant piece of cinematography. I’m sure you will appreciate the title when the credits roll, so watch it.

From the desk of a film addict.

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2 Responses to “Life is Beautiful (1997)”

  1. Love how this film succeeds in achieving in evoking the most simple of emotions so strongly.

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