War Games

Life Is Beautiful, even in Roberto Benigni's tragicomic concentration camp

While Benigni's direction is serviceably simple, there is one visually jolting scene: Wandering through the night mist of the camp, Guido is suddenly, shockingly confronted with the physical evidence of the camp's genocidal mission. It's a horrifying moment, but it's essential if we're to stick with Benigni through this movie's conceit. It amounts to an admission that it's easier to stand up to the Nazis armed only with humor if, like Benigni, you were born in 1952 or later. It's also Benigni's reassurance that he hasn't forgotten what the subject he has chosen to depict was all about, and that he still thinks life is beautiful.

Life Is Beautiful
Directed by Roberto Benigni.

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