Life Is Beautiful Movie French Style Art Print
Life is Beautiful - French Style
27 in. x 40 in.
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Life Is Beautiful - La Vie Est Belle
Life Is Beautiful (Italian: La vita è bella) is a 1997 Italian comedy-drama film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni. Benigni plays Guido Orefice, a Jewish Italian book shop owner, who must employ his fertile imagination to shield his son from the horrors of internment in a Nazi concentration camp. Part of the film came from Benigni's own family history; before Roberto's birth, his father had survived three years of internment at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The film was a critical and financial success, winning Benigni the Academy Award for Best Actor at the 71st Academy Awards as well as the Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
In 1939 Italy, Guido Orefice is a young Jewish man who is leaving his old life and going to the city where his uncle lives for work. Guido is comical and sharp, making the best from each situation he is encountered with. From the start he literally falls in love with Dora. Later he sees her again in the city where she is a teacher. Dora is set to be engaged to a rich but arrogant man. He is a local government official who Guido has run-ins with from the beginning. Guido is enamored by Dora and performs many stunts in order to see her. Guido sets up many "coincidental" incidents to show his interest. Finally Dora sees Guido's affection and promise and gives in against her head. He steals her from her engagement party on a horse, humiliating her fiance and mother. Soon they are married and have a son, Joshua.
Through the first part, the film depicts the changing political climate in Italy: Guido frequently imitates members of the National Fascist Party, skewering their racist logic and pseudoscientific reasoning (at one point, jumping onto a table to demonstrate his "perfect Aryan bellybutton"). However, the growing Fascist wave is also evident: the horse Guido steals Dora away on has been painted green and covered in antisemitic insults. Later during World War II, after Dora and her mother have reconciled, Guido, his Uncle Eliseo and Joshua are seized on Joshua's birthday. They and many other Jews are forced onto a train and taken to a concentration camp.
In the camp, Guido hides their true situation from his son. Guido explains to Joshua that the camp is a complicated game in which Joshua must perform the tasks Guido gives him. Joshua is at times reluctant to go along with the game, but Guido convinces him each time to continue on. Guido sets up the concentration camp as a game for Joshua. Each of the tasks will earn them points and whoever gets to one thousand points first will win. He tells him that if he cries, complains that he wants his mother, or says that he is hungry, he will lose points, while quiet boys who hide from the camp guards earn extra points. Guido uses this game to explain features of the concentration camp that would otherwise be scary for a young child: the guards are mean only because they want the tank for themselves; the dwindling numbers of children (who are being killed by the camp guards) are only hiding in order to score more points than Joshua so they can win the game. He puts off Joshua's requests to end the game and return home by convincing him that they are in the lead for the tank, and need only wait a short while before they can return home with their tank.
Despite being surrounded by the misery, sickness, and death at the camp, Joshua does not question this fiction because of his father's convincing performance and his own innocence. Guido maintains this story right until the end when, in the chaos of shutting down the camp as the Americans approach, he tells his son to stay in a sweatbox until everybody has left, this being the final competition before the tank is his. As the camp is in chaos Guido goes off to find Dora, but while he is out he is caught by a Nazi soldier. The soldier made the decision to execute Guido. Guido is led off by the soldier to be executed. While the soldier is leading him to his death, Guido passes by Joshua one last time, still in character and playing the game.
The next morning, Joshua emerges from the sweatbox as the camp is occupied by an American armored division. Joshua thinks he has won the game because Guido had told him whoever got to one thousand points would get a tank. The soldiers free all of the captives in the concentration camp and lead them to a safer place. While they are traveling, the soldiers allow Joshua ride on the front of the tank with them. During their travels, Joshua spots Dora in the procession leaving the camp. Joshua and Dora are reunited and are extremely happy to see each other. In the film, Joshua is a young boy; however, both the beginning and ending of the film are narrated by an older Joshua recalling his father's story of sacrifice for his family.
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