Life Is Beautiful 1998

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Life Is Beautiful ★★★★ La Vita E Bella 1998 (PG-13)

The notion of a “feelgood Holocaust comedy” shouldn't work. But Benigni's stunning epic is not, at its core, a Holocaust movie, but rather a story of endurance of family love. Benigni's Guido is so intent on believing that life is—and should be—beautiful, he goes to great lengths to ensure that vision for his wife and, particularly, his son. The first half is an amusing boymeetsgirl Italian comedy, with Benigni chasing his real-life wife (Braschi). The second half shifts to the concentration camp where Guido, his son, and—because she would not be parted from him—his wife are imprisoned. Guido invents an elaborate game to convince his son that the whole ordeal—the “trip”—is an endurance test to be won, with prizes forthcoming. If Benigni depicts the concentration camps as less than horrifying, he should be forgiven; his focus is on the love between father, son, and wife. Italian with subtitles. 122m/C VHS, DVD . IT Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giustino Durano, Sergio Bustric, Horst Buchholz, Giorgio Cantarini, Marisa Paredes, Lidia Alfonsi, Giuliana Lojodice; D: Roberto Benigni; W: Vincenzo Cerami, Roberto Benigni; C: Tonino Delli Colli; M: Nicola Piovani. Oscars ‘98: Actor (Benigni), Foreign Film, Orig. Dramatic Score; Australian Film Inst. ‘99: Foreign Film; British Acad. ‘98: Actor (Benigni); Cannes ‘98: Grand Jury Prize; Cesar ‘99: Foreign Film; Screen Actors Guild ‘98: Actor (Benigni); Broadcast Film Critics ‘98: Foreign Film.