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on July 11, 2017
Great story of a terrible historical event! Excellent!!!
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on March 25, 2017
Happy with product. Recieved quickly!
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on April 16, 2017
We received this video, but it wont play. It is PAL, our region is NTSC request refund.
Don Watson..
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on July 2, 2004
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.
Guido using the horse that was painted green as a symbol against Jews is something we all do - we joke & laugh off insane political philosophies but we can only do that for so long because they simply can gain power & control that will turn everyone's life upside down (as shown in this movie). I'm sure, in that time, there were people brave enough to use facist symbols as a joke & to ridicule facist beliefs. Benigni showed that brilliantly in that scene.
This movie also revealed that parents basically have no idea what their children are being taught (well back then I think that was the case). Benigni included that scene for that reason - children were being taught facism. His playful pursuit of his love to the school allowed that subtle implication to be included in the movie without hitting everyone over the head with that fact. The teachers standing meekly by while Guido made his speech symbolized how people can really be oblivious to a dangerous philosophy. I'm sure most people couldn't imagine how something like facism could nearly destroy the world. That's what the teachers symbolized to me.
The whole beginning of the movie hit me like a ton of rocks after the schoolroom scene (this explains the beginning of the movie). That life is made up with many chances & sometimes coincidences & even unbearable situations all at once. Though chance & coincidences can bring joy in our lives (Guido meeting the "princess" all by chance for the very 1st time) chance can bring a lot of misery too (facism growing & becoming extremely powerful by strokes of chances & coincidences). That with enough "chances" & "coincidences" situations (good or bad) will grow & take hold (Guido constantly running into the schoolteacher by coincidences & chance allowed their love to grow...I think he was telling us that is how facism grew which is all by chances & coincidences...enough of these 2 things & you may have something dangerous OR something wonderful depending on the situation).
On many levels Benigni showed how something like facism can grow out of control in the real world. The beginning of the movie people live their lives as they see fit (Guido going where the wind blows in trying to win the teacher's heart). Then a new philosophy seeps over the horizon but no one really pays attention (the schoolroom scene...Guido joked but was oblivious to the implications that facism had if it ever had real power & many followers). Some people will make political satire out of this new idea (Guido on the green horse). If the new philosophy gains power it will benefit a person's life or interfere with their life depending on who you are OR who they say you are (Guido's store failing because of the new policies and because the policies doomed him & his family). And eventually total control over everyone's life & sometimes to the extreme in which it's decided who lives & who dies (the concentration camps).
I was rather startled by the very simple ending with Joshua being reunited with his mother. All I can say is that Benigni understands human nature very well - people will continue to live their lives & history will repeat itself. He doesn't show an end to facism but possibly the beginning of more if people don't try to come out of their shells & try to make a difference. A simple ending yet a powerful statement. Perhaps he also wanted to say that some people remained unchanged by tragedy because most people just want to live no matter what happened in the past or what may happen in the future. It seems that he wanted to show that though there are some things that our beyond our control happiness & love are never beyond our control.
I won't touch on the heart-wrenching scenes of the concentration camp. I wanted to reveal all the other parts that have been missed (or maybe they have not been missed...I'm just guessing here) From what I've read just about everyone has criticized the beginning of the movie which was in fact a reality check - things can creep into your life without being noticed until it's too late. And that's what happened in the beginning of the movie - facism showed up here & there in different scenes but always in a subtle & an unthreatening way like in real life. I'm sure, at the time, most people didn't feel facism was a threat (political parties & philosophies live & die time all the time). The most horrific fact is that no one really knows what are the real intentions of this type of philosophy until they actually have power.
Bravo Benigni. Your movie is pure genius. And the most humane movie I've ever seen.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 19, 2012
This violently divided critics, some of whom saw it as a masterpiece of humanity,
and others who saw it as trivializing the holocaust. I'm with those in the middle.

There's a lot that's enjoyable and touching in the film, but also a certain amount
that's too cute for the circumstances, or that screws up the story logic.

I like the basic idea that Benigni tries to protect his child's innocence by convincing
him that the concentration camp they're in is some kind of psychotic summer camp.
And when the convention works it's very powerful. But when it gets hard to believe
(as when the Nazi's fail to discover the boy over a long period of time) it takes a lot
of the power out of it's punch.

Still, some of the comic moments in the film's first
half are gems, and while the dark 2nd half doesn't
all work, it certainly gets points for trying. A film that's
complex and emotionally confusing enough that I will re-see it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 19, 2012
This violently divided critics, some of whom saw it as a masterpiece of humanity,
and others who saw it as trivializing the holocaust. I'm with those in the middle.

There's a lot that's enjoyable and touching in the film, but also a certain amount
that's too cute for the circumstances, or that screws up the story logic.

I like the basic idea that Benigni tries to protect his child's innocence by convincing
him that the concentration camp they're in is some kind of psychotic summer camp.
And when the convention works it's very powerful. But when it gets hard to believe
(as when the Nazi's fail to discover the boy over a long period of time) it takes a lot
of the power out of it's punch.

Still, some of the comic moments in the film's first
half are gems, and while the dark 2nd half doesn't
all work, it certainly gets points for trying. A film that's
complex and emotionally confusing enough that I will re-see it.
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on August 31, 2001
Roberto Benigni's celebrated affirmation of the human spirit owes a little to "Rhinoceros," Ionesco's absurdist play from the Sixties. There's the same attempt to reduce the worse horror in human history to the absurd. Perhaps this is a way of comprehending something monstrous beyond comprehension. Benigni was criticized in some circles for trivializing the Holocaust, but that is not what he did. He sought to rise above it. I don't know whether he or Ionesco were really successful. On the other hand has anybody-any religion, philosophy or great artist-ever solved the problem of evil in this world?
There's something of Charlie Chaplin in Benigni's irrepressible hero, and in the camera work look for the influence of Orson Wells in light and shadow. The strange splashes of color on such places as the concentration camps walls reminded me curiously of Jacque Demy's "Umbrellas of Cherbourg," a wondrous French operetta from the Sixties (starring Catherine Deneuve, music by Michel Legrand).
The movie is a little slow at times and we miss a lot of Benigni's mugging as our eyes chase after the subtitles (get the dubbed version), but the central idea, that with our attitudes we create the world, and that life can be beautiful even in the midst of tragedy, is uplifting, if hard to believe.
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on June 18, 2001
When I first heard of this movie during the Academy Awards, I was skeptical of the plot because well, how could a person shield such horror from one's child, especially at a time such as the Holocaust? Yet, somehow, this man did. And the reason I feel that it was like that is because it was a relatively short stay. I don't think he could have pulled it off if it were longer. What I love about this movie is that I was touched by it. And each time I see it, I am more touched, and I fall in love with a certain aspect of the film. Despite the fact that I am African American, I can identify with this film, and I give it two thumbs way up!! (Personally, it needs more than five, more like ten)
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on June 27, 2004
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". Another is one where he goes to the school as the inspector and shows how the Italian Aryan bodies are superior to others. The other part where he convinces his son that he will not be made into soap in the camp.
I would urge everyone to see the movie and make their own judgement. This movie is a masterpiece. You can see it as a comedy, or as a serious movie that makes you think. I personally feel that as an imaginative story and acting, this movie is a product of genius. It won 2 oscars, best foreign film and best actor, I personally felt that it could have won best film as well that year. I could not believe that they gave it to "Shakespeare in Love". This movie will stand the test of time as it is a paradigm shift.
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on November 30, 2010
Alliance in particular and Canadian special Blu-ray releases in general have a poor reputation but this is a welcome exception. The English subtitles do not appear when German is spoken but otherwise are excellent. If you choose the dubbed English audio, (which is surprisingly good with entertaining Italian accented English), then the subtitles do not fit too well as they have obviously been done from the Italian original. These are minor points however. Considering the age the transfer is quite strong and a big improvement on the DVD. The featurette is not really about this film but about Roberto Benigni. It is SD 4x3 and one viewing will be enough. The cover is reversable English / French, I presume Canadian French but could not say for sure. This is an excellent value disc. The price is cheap and Canadian post is brilliant. I got my disc in Australia in 5 days! Do not hesitate, strongly recommended.
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