Life is a tale
Told by an angel
Full of love and warmth
Signifying heaven itself
That is how Shakespeare would have re-written his lines if he were to pen the
life of the hero of Benigni's brilliant film, Life Is Beautiful. An ever-cheerful
optimist, this father of a family proves that life is sunshine and bloom if you
have the right attitude which make can make moles of mountains of any variety.
His son, little Gisuippo, is lucky to have such a livewire Dad whose love is so
deep and abiding that it can overcome Nazi excesses. Benigni enacts to perfection
a young Italian who always has it hard. But with a sweet sangfroid and
a comic cheerfulness that can shame Charlie Chaplin himself, this lovable rouge
of a comedian manages to win his way out of every embarrassing situation. On a
breezy trip down the lovely Italian road, his future "princessa" literally falls
in to his lap. Many a comic situation later, he wins her heart. She gives up family
and fortune to marry him. Life is indeed a lovely dream.
Till the Nazis strike, that is. Taken to a Nazi camp, along with his son, this
common man of a hero manages to keep the innocence and simple faith of his sonny
by shielding him from the harsh reality. The wide-eyed child believes in all honesty
that the Nazi camp, with all its atrocities, is a complicated game, and if he
plays it as per the rules that his papa dins in to him, he is finally going to
win it. Does he really? What is the price his papa pays? To find out the answers,
watch Benigni's great film, which brings tears to your eyes while your lips are
curving into a gentle smile.
True, the film is no great shakes technique-wise. It is a straight narration,
uncomplicated by any twists and turns. But full of unforgettable scenes, this
family film tugs at your heart all right. Frame after frame, which shows what
a father's love for his family is, the film proves that imagination born out of
love makes even a hell a heaven.
An out-and-out Benigni film, it shows how Benigni is a wonderful cross between
a comic and critiquing Chaplin, and a common man's Woody Allen. It is the child
actor, who, however, steals the show from right under Benigni's crinkly smile.
A film that shows you ways to live life real king size. It is indeed a film worth
taking back into the four walls of the classroom. A must see Academy Winner, the
film is a real treat you could offer your family this weekend. If it stays until
then, that is. So get to the theater fast.