Life is Beautiful
(By Gerry Wang)

(Roberto Benigni)
Gerry Wang

_____Wow, it's been almost a month since I've watched LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, and I'm sorry I wrote my Oscar article w/o watching this movie, which was the only one nominated for Best Picture that I didn't watch. Let me say that while SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE did deserve the Best Picture Oscar, I was utterly shocked when Roberto Benigni unexpectedly won the Best Actor prize. Why? Because he absolutely deserved it, no matter how insane he is. =)

_____It's been almost a month since I've watched LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, yet it is still fresh in my memory. I still remember its beautiful simplicity and Italian atmosphere. But most of all the heartwarming story and charm still reverberates in my heart. Rarely have I ever been so touched by a movie-going experience before. If only I wasn't watching it with a girl I've never seen a movie with before, or else I woulda stood up and clapped when it was over. It was that good.

_____I initially wasn't used to LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, because it had subtitles, and I didn't think reading the dialogue could elicit the same kind of emotion as actually listening the the words spoken aloud. But i was wrong, because the script was packed with humor and tragic punch, and I experienced a whirlwind of emotions just based on reading simple words. I also had no idea what LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL was about, except that everyone who saw it liked it, and it starred one of the most adored international stars in the world, Roberto Benigni, who has been called the second Charlie Chaplin, a clown who could make you laugh as well as make you cry.

_____Let me just say it was Roberto Benigni that carried this movie. He not only starred, but he also co-wrote and directed. And we must applaud him for tackling the controversial topic of the Holocaust, at times making it light-hearted, but never diminishing its horrible reality. The Holocaust was the worst atrocity ever in humankind. You get tears just listening to stories about the death camps. When you try to imagine being a Jew during World War II Europe, you start shuddering and feeling sick to the stomach, because of the immense fear that permeates every fiber of your being.

_____LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL can be broken down into two distinct acts. It's like getting 2 movies for the price of one, and both are equally enjoyable, but on polar ends of the cinematic spectrum. The first act is Guido's (Benigni) courtship of his "principessa" or princess. It's a real sweet love story that shows Benigni's wide range of comedic talents. Ranging from slapstick to pantomine to satire, Benigni does it all, and he does so with a great love for showmanship. We can tell he is good at his craft, and he really loves entertaining people. He really loves life. But underlying Guido's love story is the backdrop of WWII Italy, which was under a fascist regime, ruled by Axis member Benito Mussolini. If you're a retard, then you probably don't know that Jews were persecuted throughout all of Europe. Guido is a Jew.

_____Eventually, Guido and his "princess" get married and have a child, Joshua. WWII rages on, except the persecution of Jews has escalated, due to Hitler's increasing losses. They don't tell you this, you just kinda have to know. You can tell there would be controversy surrounding Benigni's movie back in Italy, because it isn't exactly nationalistic. In fact, as we watch, we're f-ing hateful of Hitler's stupid ass. Damn, that guy is the evilest son of a bitch in history. Damn I hate him.

_____Anyways, I digress. This isn't a history lesson. It's a review of LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, a movie I loved and has made my all-time top 10. So Guido has a son named Joshua, and life is great for them. The relationship between father and son is particularly touching. You can sense the genuine love and bond between all members of the family. However, a dark day comes and the family is whisked away to a Jewish deathcamp. Guido is scared. He knows they're all doomed, but tries to stay optimistic and to not let his son get worried.

_____So he concocts a game out of the whole thing to save Joshua's life. He says things like, you earn 50 points for hiding and not letting the German's capture you. And first one to 1000 would win a tank. So Joshua thinks it's a game and avoids being caught and gassed along w/ the other children. The scenario of the Jews is absolutely chilling. In the end, as we all know, the Americans liberate the prison camp. But along the way, there is a lot of tearjerking tragedy.

_____I guess people can say that this movie trivializes the Holocaust. But never once did LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL deny that the Holocaust did happen and that the atrocities were true. Rather, this movie is a fable, a fairytale about the love a father had for his son. Under this guise, it is also a bone- chilling story about the terrible plight of the Jews in Europe during WWII, and we should never take it jokingly.

_____The message we get out of the movie is that life is beautiful. Guido believed in that philosophy until the very end, and we can see how he relished life so much. When we leave the theater, tissue in wads clenched in our sweaty palms, we remarkably feel a sense of triumph. Guido never lost, because his son always believed in him. I know I sound cryptic, but after you watch, refer back to this article and you'll know what I'm talking about. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL truly is a beautiful movie. It's magical.

Babe-o-meter: 1- I am limp. (If you get turned on by Jewish women in deathcamps then you're a sicko and I'll bomb on your ass if I ever see you in a deserted alley.)

The scale is as follows:

* 4-- Greek Goddesses (Highest)- Some nice, delicious honeys; i.e. Jenny McCarthy
* 3-- Lovely- Pretty girls, but not knockouts; i.e. Jennifer Lopez
* 2-- Semi Do-able- Middle of the road type of girls; i.e. Jennie Garth
* 1-- I am limp (Lowest)- Butt ugly banshees; i.e. my sis Jennifer Wang =)