I am beginning to have an impression that Italians are great filmmakers.
So far, I’ve watched only two Italian movies. Thanks to my professor in Italian, for letting me borrow his copy of Malena. I can sincerely say that the director and cinematographer of Malena are superb. I can testify this because I managed to understand the story even if I watched the entire movie in Italian without English subtitles. Taking 6 units of Italian in college only lets a student speak and write, common phrases in Italian such as “How are you?(Come sta Lei? )” But don’t ask me other examples. I lost almost all the words I knew in Italian because my brain has a limited space and has been preoccupied by a lot of school works. Monica Belluci was also stunning. She is one of the most beautiful women I have seen on screen. It’s a fact because it’s difficult for me to admit that a woman other than myself is beautiful. As much as I haven’t heard a straight man said that Brad Pitt is really handsome. She does not need to act or speak on screen, the lenses just need to focus on her face and she can already convey the emotions and the messages underlying . Bravo!
The next movie and the latest movie I’ve watched is La Vita è Bella, translated as Life is Beautiful. I found it on the video rental shop which seldom has customers. Piracy is booming nowadays. When I was in grade school, video rental shops had all the movies you asked for and all their videos were properly labeled. Today, videos of musical and videos of drama are in one shelf. Anyway, watching Life is Beautiful is a random choice but I am glad to spend twenty pesos for viewing it.
Gratefully, this time, I was able to watch an Italian movie with English subtitles. If there were no English subtitles, I would miss the whole point of the movie.
It is a must-see movie which emphasizes family. I was quite hesitant in borrowing this movie at the video rental shop when I read that it was about family. I was thinking that science fiction movies would be more interesting than family films for the time being. I picked this movie for one big reason; it won Best Foreign Film. After watching the movie, I have proven it to myself that it is the Best Foreign Film.
Family has been one of the least preferred themes in movie theaters. Life is beautiful imparts the significance of a family but it is not preachy about family. It is cleverly written with humor.
Roberto Benigni is a very talented artist. His genius is shown in his acting prowess, in his writing, and his skills as director. His looks were also perfect for comedy.
The story was dated back in 1939 when Jews were treated less humans. The movie began with Guido and Dora’s love story . Then, the following scenes were about their captivity at camp concentration where all the Jews were dumped. Dora was not a Jew but she accompanied Guido and her son to the camp. In the end, the father saved his family (but I won’t tell you how. You have to watch it. To give you a clue, Sean Axmander said: ”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.” )
The movie is also endearing as it places the wittiest lines in the characters’ mouths. Their exchange of lines had already sounded sweet to me even if I was listening through my eyes. How much more if I just listened and understood Italian without reading English subtitles.
Here are some of the lines:
Guido: “What kind of place is this? It’s beautiful: Pigeons fly, women fall from the sky! I’m moving here!”
Guido:“You can’t imagine how much I feel like making love to you. But I’ll never tell anyone, especially not you. They’d have to torture me to make me say it. “
Dora: Say what?
Guido: That I want to make love to you – not just once, but over and over again! But I’ll never tell you that. I’d have to be crazy to tell you. I’d even make love to you now… right here for the rest of my life.
[carrying his son through the camp] You are such a good boy. You sleep now. Dream sweet dreams. Maybe we are both dreaming. Maybe this is all a dream, and in the morning, Mommy will wake us up with milk and cookies. Then, after we eat, I will make love to her two or three times. If I can.
I believe my parents will like this movie. For a very long time, the only non-dramatic, family-oriented movie that my family has ever known is Sound of Music. Life is Beautiful is another movie that all family members can watch. I highly recommend that it should be part of everyone’s household DVD collection.