Ivan’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Silence is the most powerful cry."
Life is Beautiful is a pure and spiritual film that showcases us how to cope with the unexpected and smile amidst unbearable. It is an unlikely look at the horrors of the Holocaust, seen through the eyes of a young boy and his comic father. While Holocaust films are plenty such as Schindler List and The Pianist, what is rare about this unorthodox film is that it uses touches of humor as the main engine instead of pain, and hope as the central principle. Its power lies in the way it makes a person loves the characters as well as the story fusing with an arresting sound score. It moves you from start to finish and leaves you in awe of the ending. It is just brilliant and striking.
Directed by Roberto Benigni, who also wrote and plays the main lead, an Italian-Jew Guido Orefice as himself (and won an Oscar for Best Actor) and with his funny antics. He meets Dora (Nicoletta Braschi), who he falls in love with spontaneously and courts her until they are married and have a son Giosue (Giorgio Cantarini). They live happily together until the domination of German forces. The film story revolves around a father protecting his family, and his son against the barbarities of a Jewish Concentration Camp. But, it is more than a war chronicle. It is a story of triumph, hope amidst atrocities, and the resplendency of human nature. Life is Beautiful is a living testament to the power of storytelling, the love of parents, and their children, distracting them from the mishaps and darkness of life. Benigni’s style of storytelling does one astonishing thing, he makes the characters feel human, real, pain, loved, insecure, and determined people we want to be interested in.
Overall, "This is a simple story, but not an easy one to tell. Like a fable, there is sorrow. And, like a fable, it is full of wonder and happiness."