...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

September 09, 2007

Life is Beautiful - 7

This Italian film won 3 Oscars when it came out in 1997. Actor-writer-director Roberto Benigni tells a comedy in the midst of the harsh reality of the second World War. The story is told from a young son's perspective about his father, Guido (Benigni), who was a goofy but caring man who finds love with Dora right before the war, and when they have a son they raise him to love life, have fun, and take bath's despite his protests. When the father and son are taken to a concentration camp because they are Jews, Guido convinces his son that they have been signed up for a game in which they do what they are told to gain points to eventually win a tank. Guido uses his imagination in order to help his son see that amidst the ugliness and destruction in life, it is still beautiful. The film is mostly funny, which is odd as the setting could not be more horrendous, but that is ultimately Benigni's claim. Even human evil is unable to complete destroy the gift and beauty that is life. It is an audacious claim, and one that this story tells beautifully and with great care- never making light of the reality of the holocaust. Rather the film points us toward love, family and our imagination as a key to being human and allowing us to resist the evil which can well up in all of us.

No comments: