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  • Life Is Beautiful [Blu-ray] (Sous-titres français)
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Life Is Beautiful [Blu-ray] (Sous-titres français)

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Product Description

Italy's rubber-faced funnyman Roberto Benigni accomplishes the impossible in his World War II comedy Life Is Beautiful: he shapes a simultaneously hilarious and haunting comedy out of the tragedy of the Holocaust. An international sensation and the most successful foreign language film in U.S. history, the picture also earned director-cowriter-star Benigni Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor. He plays the Jewish country boy Guido, a madcap romantic in Mussolini's Italy who wins the heart of his sweetheart (Benigni's real-life sweetie, Nicoletta Braschi) and raises a darling son (the adorable Giorgio Cantarini) in the shadow of fascism. When the Nazis ship the men off to a concentration camp in the waning days of the war, Guido is determined to shelter his son from the evils around them and convinces him they're in an elaborate contest to win (of all things) a tank. Guido tirelessly maintains the ruse with comic ingenuity, even as the horrors escalate and the camp's population continues to dwindle--all the more impetus to keep his son safe, secure, and, most of all, hidden. Benigni walks a fine line mining comedy from tragedy and his efforts are pure fantasy--he accomplishes feats no man could realistically pull off--both of which have drawn fire from a few critics. Yet for all its wacky humor and inventive gags, Life Is Beautiful is a moving and poignant tale of one father's sacrifice to save not just his young son's life but his innocence in the face of one of the most evil acts ever perpetrated by the human race. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 24 2006
Format: DVD
This is one of the best and most creative films ever made. Totally inventive in concept, the story revolves around an exuberant and romantic Italian man named Guido, who also happens to be Jewish. He sweeps the woman of his dreams,his "Principessa", off her feet. They marry and have an adorable little boy whom they dearly love. Unfortunately, this all happens during World War II in fascist Italy.

Ultimately, Guido and their son are whisked away to a concentration/work camp on their young son's birthday. Meanwhile, his wife and the boy's mother, coming home and expecting to find a birthday celebration in progress, discovers, instead, that the inevitable has occurred. She tracks them down to the train that is taking prisoners to a work camp and, after confirming that they are on board, insists upon boarding the train herself, so that she may remain close to them. They see her board the train and know that she is with them.

In order to get his son through this horror as best he can, Guido tells his son that they are involved in a real life game to win a tank, knowing that the boy had wanted a toy tank for his birthday. Talk about a reality survival game! In any case, his son is young enough to fall for it and gets with the program as only the very young can. What follows is a series of inventive scenarios which tells the viewer of the lengths that the father goes in order to keep his son quiet, obedient, entertained, and safe from harm. All along, the father has his son believing in the game and playing to win, to the point that the boy believes that they are actually in first place to win the tank.

While this may sound like an odd venue in which to find oneself laughing, that is exactly what the viewer does.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By peppermint on July 2 2004
Format: DVD
When I watched Life Is Beautiful I wasn't at all impressed - at 1st I wasn't. Not until the scene where Guido is forced to pretend to be a fascist leader indoctrinating children at the school (where the woman he loves is teacher). My stomach turned in this scene. And the whole meaning of the movie came to me like an avalanche. Guido's pretending symbolized many things. That when people are put in inhumane situations they will be forced to find ways to "work around" the situation in order to survive (for instance...I'm sure that the slaves that built the pyramids laughed & joked about their inhumane situation & about the ones in power in order to make life bearable...forced to be a slave but also forced to find a way to make life more humane when a humane life simply should be a given). Though he thought he was being clever in speaking in the way he thought the leader of the fascist movement would speak he unwittingly hit the nail on the head - Guido used the same words the real fascist leader would use but from a different point-of-view. Though Guido was innocent of the far-reaching implications of fascism he knew, on some level, what the policies were (enough to be able to pretend to be the leader that was suppose to be there instead). His playful speech is in actuality the same speech the leader would make but from different angles: Guido's own angle is one of joking disbelief regarding the philosophies of facism; the fascist leader (when he arrives) would say exactly the same words but said in total & unwavering belief in the fascist's philosophy. If you can imagine the real fascist leader in that classroom making that speech instead of Guido you'll see what I see.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Trial Critic on June 27 2004
Format: DVD
Roberto Benigni's "Life is Beautiful" is an outstanding movie. The movie combines comedy, romance and the Holocaust which could have backfired easily, but he pulls it off superbly. It won the hearts of people across the world. The story is one of an Italian Jewish waiter who bumps into an Italian woman and wins her heart. The movie can almost be broken into two parts, the first part full of mirth and the second part dark and depressing. A lot of people who have the DVDs refuse to see the second part (with good reason).
I asked a number of holocaust survivors how they felt about the movie. Most of the them found it beautiful, they realize that it is unrealistic but the fantasy in it moved them. Of course, there were some people who did not accept it as the scars in them were too deep. But such things are to be expected. However, if one watches the DVD extras and sees the effect in the Simon Wiesenthal center, one sees that this movie has an overall positive impact among a lot of the Holocaust survivors. As far as Steven Spielberg not liking it, well, he may be a gifted director, but he is not the sole authority on the Holocaust just because he has made one movie on it. His movie is ripped off from one of the most gifted writers, Thomas Keneally. When he comes up with a story with imagination, he can talk. I have read numerous books on the Holocaust and talked to survivors and understand that this is not reality. But, it still makes you appreciate the story without undermining the Holocaust in anyway whatsoever. That is the magic of the movie.
There are a number of special scenes in this movie. Particular among them are how he shields his son, Joshua from the Nazis Nuremberg laws - "We will not allow spiders and visigoths into our shop from tomorrow".
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