"Buon giorno, Principessa!"
He came, he saw, he conquered. That's what exactly Roberto Benigni did. He had a fantastic film idea. He saw it through. He conquered Hollywood. And after that the Foreign Press Association and the Academy Awards created the Oscar for Best Foreign Film category so that the Europeans wouldn't come and take their awards away. (just kidding) And here's when we say Viva Italia!
All joking aside Roberto Benigni wrote and directed this wonderful film that talks about a father's will to protect his song against the Nazis no matter what the cost. The plot goes like that:
"In 1930s Italy, a carefree Jewish book keeper named Guido starts a fairy tale life by courting and marrying a lovely woman from a nearby city. Guido and his wife have a son and live happily together until the occupation of Italy by German forces. In an attempt to hold his family together and help his son survive the horrors of a Jewish Concentration Camp, Guido imagines that the Holocaust is a game and that the grand prize for winning is a tank." (www.imdb.com)
Roberto Benigni casted his real life wife, Nicoletta Braschi, as his on screen wife something which really vented on well as these two actors have chemistry both on screen as well as off. Benigni's secret ingredient though was the hilarious and at the same time outrageous comedic lines in the script. Benigni's character is somewhat of a goof-ball what we'd call but he still is smart enough to make all the right moves and still win his audience's hearts.
But I simply cannot stress this enough, this film is so touching and heartwarming that simply will melt even the most demanding viewers. The plot stars off very light-hearted almost like a romantic comedy with that European light-hearted style and somewhere along we meet the German occupation in Italy and its harsh consequences. Begnini's imagination knows no boundaries in this film as he manages to combine both drama and comedy all into one-film without this feeling awkward or too excessive. He balanced everything just about right for the viewer to follow the plot and have a good time, even with an anti-war film. I gotta handed to the unbelievable acting of Benigni, who simply astounds audiences as he managed to get people from across the world to cry and be moved, as well as feeling a sense of appreciation of everything that one lives for.
One of the true memorable elements in the film, besides the exquisite acting and dialogue is the music, by Nicola Piovani. I'm sure that many people out there will have heard this piece before. This is truly one of the best well-composed musical scores and in all honesty the Academy Award was well-deserved.
Without wanting to spoil too much this touching film, I'll simply say watch it with your family, with your loved ones and I promise you that immediately after watching it you will venture on to your father (or father figure) and go hug them, for this shows the true meaning of flawless family love.
Buonna notte principessi e principi!
La Vita e Bella (1997)