In the late 90’s, “Life is Beautiful” hit the Hollywood Box-Office. This Roberto Benigni movie reflects the enmity prevailing between the Germans and Jews in the1930’s beautifully blended with sweet romance. The movie was critically acclaimed and won accolades from the audience besides winning two Oscar Academy Awards.
Roberto Benigni has evolved the character of Guido Orifice as a simple man, of humble dreams one of which includes possessing a bookshop. He is enchanted by the simplicity and the charming beauty of Dora – a school teacher. Guido portrays the innocence of a child, the chivalry of a warrior and the tender affection of a husband. Dora is a gentle and a loving mother. The birth of Joshua completed the perfect family picture. Roberto and Nicoletta perfectly essay the characters of Guido and Dora respectively, though Roberto as Guido stands out for his characters and is more appealing to the audience. Joshua is an adorable kid. The characters have a holistic impact on the viewer and while you are engrossed in following its sensitive storyline, you are bound to sense their joy and empathize with them during their turbulent times.
The movie brings to light the cruelty, brutality and the inhuman temperament of the Nazis led out to the Jews, resulting in an outbreak of war and massacre. This is followed by a mass agitation, culminating in a victory against the Germans which paved way for ‘all’s well that ends well’. The climax proceeds with the termination of blissful occurrences in the Orifice family. Captivity prevailed for men and women, while the children and the elderly were murdered.
The movie handles varied human relations and emotions like intense grief, humour and proceeds with a perfect pace giving space and scope to every feeling. The background score by Nicula Piovani is pivotal in infusing life into the well-documented script. The “thunderclap” and classical sequence is continually used during the movie. Opera and soft music gives a fresh and gentle feel to every romantic encounter between Dora and Guido. The screenplay and lighting effects are not too far-fetched. The props are aptly used and the setting seems flawless. The movie begins on a lighter note and proceeds to a tragic end, which leaves the audience choked with pain.
Roberto Benigni has successfully accomplished the task of delineating the historical events even as he takes care of the lighter mood and romantic shades in the movie. The theme of war is handled sensitively along with the other elements in the movie.
The classic is crafted so as to enjoy with family and friends. It caters to the audience of every age-group and creed, the world over. It is too late to catch this flick in the theatres now. So all in all, I would say, get a DVD to experience this beautiful mix of emotions and value the essence of life as rightly captured in this directorial venture of Roberto Benigni.
Priya Ganesh Amrute