March 31, 2014
It's been a long, a long time coming. The first feel-good Holocaust weepy. Any one, by now, has probably sat through more films about the Holocaust than he can count. The reason hardly needs stating- it's the most defining monstrosity of the 20th century. These type of films have come to establish a cinematic universe. It's that universe, I think, that fathers a picture like Life Is Beautiful, which has the audacity, the willingness or is it just insensitivity? to place its lovable clownish hero in a death camp. You'll laugh! You'll cry!
Roberto Benigni's Life Is Beautiful is undoubtedly a sort of triumph. Benigni plays Guido, a winsome Jewish-Italian, a common character who, with nothing but a few farm eggs in his pocket, arrives in a scenic Tuscan village on the eve of World War II. Soon after, he meets a pretty schoolteacher named Dora, played by Nicoletta Braschi. Braschi, actress and producer, met Roberto Benigni on the set of You Disturb Me (1983). And have since collectively been known known for Life Is Beautiful (1997), Down by Law (1986) and The Tiger and the Snow (2005). They married in December of 1991. Among these two main character, there is Marisa Paredes who is known for her role as Dora’s mother. In addition to her work in this film, she continued on to be in All About My Mother(1999) and The Devil's Backbone (2001); as well as, Rodolfo, Dora’s fiance, played by Amerigo Fontani.
The first hour of Life Is Beautiful is genuinely lovely. It’s dedicated to a delicate romance spiked with antifascist buffoonery. And then? Our hero, having won his girl, married, had a son, and is now carted off…