Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Film: Life is Beautiful
Story is that before the second world war, Jewish Benigni goes to Arezzo, works as a waiter, opens a bookstore, marries a beautiful upper-class girl. This is all told with farcical jokes and fast-paced slapstick - you feel you are watching Laurel & Hardy.
Five years on, we discover they now have a child of four. Then the family is arrested and taken to a German camp, so the mood changes completely. But the father persuades the child that the camp is all a great game where people who say they are hungry lose points and the winner will get a tank. I admit that the plot is ingenious in this respect, and the film improves. The ending is half happy, half very sad.
Should you watch it? Well, perhaps you should, but I’d skip most of the first half.
Here’s a review. Some people love this film, some say it diminishes those who suffered. Many say it depends on how you feel about Benigni, but I reckon it is saved by the wide-eyed child who, as I said, is both convincing and appealing without being saccharine. The film won three Oscars and other awards, which was why I chose it at random from the DVD rental company without knowing what it was about.