Life is beautiful is a Italian comedy-drama film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni. The film talks about the main character, Guido, a Jewish Italian bookshop owner,employing his fertile imagination to shield his son from the horrors of the Internment in a Nazi concentration camp.
I don’t want to mention about how great the paternal love Guido is. Since there are so many articles related to that, if you want, just go and find it. What I want to appreciate is the great and simple artistry— using comedy to portray the miserable board environment lying behind the warm story.
There were different sound toward this film, tough it won a big success. It offended some left-wing critics with its humor in connection with the Holocaust. Some people noted that Roberto Benigni, the director is Gentile and no family die in concentration camps. History is serious and they “change”the fact. According to these, they criticized this film shooting in a comedic way is the disrespect to the people who died in the Nazi concentration camps.
From my perspective, I held another totally different opinion. To begin with, I would like to share my view toward whom spoke negative to the film. What I want to tell them is that, the reason why they think in that way is that they were lacked of understanding of this film. First and foremost, this film is not totally fictive in that the story is based on that father Luigi Benigni, who was a member of the Italian Army after Italy switched to the Allied side in 1943. Luigi Benigni spent two years in a Nazi labour camp, and to avoid scaring his children, told about his experiences humorously,finding this helped him cope. Benigni stated he wished to commemorate the man who wished to live in the right way.
Besides that ,we cannot ignore some details in the process of the film, maybe the people misunderstood director miss that unconsciously . In the beginning of the film, some people broke into uncle’s house but uncle just stood up and said they are rude men. In Dora’s engagement party, uncle’s horse was printed into green color with insulting words- Jewish horse. When it came to the bookshop, we found the door was printed in that way as well. Even some shops putting a board writing“Jewish and dogs are not allowed”. They did,tough just a little movie scene describing implicitly, afford us a glimpse of of the background of Holocaust.
The film is not meas to be funny, it just finds the right notes to negotiate its delicate subject. Compared with other films talking about Holocaust in depressed tone, this film, with a great and simple artistry, through Benigni’s sentimental fantasy, diminishes the suffering of Holocaust victims. And the same time, it memorizes the powers of imagination, innocence, and love in the most harrowing of circumstances.
Roberto Benigni has explained his philosophy,“to laugh and to cry comes from the same point of soul, no ? I’m a storyteller: the crux of the matter is to reach beauty, it doesn’t matter if that is comedy or tragedy. They’re the same if you reach the beauty.”