new year, same allain 🎆’s review published on Letterboxd:
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This is a simple story… but not an easy one to tell.
Life is Beautiful is a tragicomedy film that tells the story of a Jewish bookkeeper and how he navigated the atrocities of a Jewish concentration camp using wits and humor to protect his beloved son. When I first watched this film back in 2018, I asked the question, “why would anyone attempt to make a comedy film about a topic as sensitive as the Holocaust?” and it still made me uncomfortable because it’s not really a topic you should be making fun of, but the film isn’t all about that.
The movie started as jolly and high-spirited as we’re introduced to the life of Guido pre-Nazi occupied Italy then shifting into a game of life or death as Guido’s family is carried to a concentration camp. Benigni did the impossible by threading a fine line on comedy in the midst of Holocaust, by keeping his son safe. I can definitely understand if people find this film offensive and I am not in any position say anything because I didn’t experience the Holocaust, but for me, Benigni managed to transform comedy as a powerful medium to highlight the subject of familial bonds in a two hour film. Life is Beautiful showcases the hopefulness in human spirit that we tend to forget and I think that is beautiful.
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