DVD PICK MOVIE: Life is Beautiful CAST: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini
“This is a simple story... but not an easy one to tell. Like a fable, there is sorrow... and, like a fable, it is full of wonder and happiness.” Thus begins this magical movie, Life Is Beautiful (originally La Vita è Bella-Italian) that tells the story of a Jewish Italian, Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni).
The movie starts as a whimsical rom-com, and later builds into a close to heart narrative (the director and co writer in Benigni scores here). Benigni does a tremendous job (his act reminds me of our own Nagesh —specially the slapstick comedies and essaying of a variety of emotions— the legend who has acted in a score of similar roles and who knows had he been at the right place at the right time, he would have got a few Oscars), where he falls for a local school teacher Dora (portrayed by Benigni's real wife Nicoletta Braschi). Amidst some more fun Guido ends up marrying her.
I the second half, Guido and his family (which now includes his son Joshua) are taken to a Nazi camp where Guido hides Joshua from the guards.
To keep his son's spirit high he frames a story by which, the whole thing is a game and the best player could win a tanker. How he keeps his little son's hopes alive amidst all the hard times forms the rest of the plot. Guido maintains this story right till the end, before being killed by a soldier when he tries to find his wife in the camp, but not before making his son laugh one final time by imitating the Nazi guard as if the two of them were marching around the camp together.
Need to learn
Scenes such as the school inspection in the first half and the funnily awry French translation Guido does at the camp in the latter half are pieces some of our writers need to learn from. Cinematic comedy need not always be centred on double meaning filth.
The film also won a host of awards including the Academy Award for the Best Actor, Best Foreign Film and many other prestigious awards. This film is about hope. It's about saying “Be Nice To Everyone You Meet, After All Everyone You See Is Fighting An Equally Hard Battle”.
And very easily this movie shows that you need not be a hunk to become a superhero or to keep everyone happy or to instil that hope that more than most times keeps the soul in us alive.
Dharanidharan is a Fourth year s Electronics Engineering student at Madras Institute of Technology