LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL ROBERTO BENIGNI: In-depth Critical Analysis
1.Reception of the Film…….(5 pages)
• Reception of the film should include examination of reviews in the following articles:
Steve Siporin. Life is Beautiful: four riddles, three answers (pp46-49)
Maurizio Viano. Life is Beautiful: Reception, Allegory, and Holcoaust Laughter
Imre Kertesz. Imre Kertesz and Holocaust literature. Purdue University Press: 2005
John Simon,. ‘Lies are unbeautiful’, National Review (February 22, 1999): 54-55
David Denby,. In The Eye of the Beholder. The New Yorker, March 15, 1999, pp.96-99.
Hilene Flanzbaum. But wasn’t it terrific?: A defense of Liking Life is Beautiful pp.281-283
This is the introduction to the paper!! DO NOT provide a summary of the film!!
While the criticism of the film always falls under:
Representation: the depiction of the death camp, and by extension the Holocaust, in Life is Beautiful is inaccurate and misleading
Genre: comedy is wrong in a film about the Holocaust
Plot: the story itself is unrealistic, unbelievable and entirely impossible.
THIS PAPER DEFENDS THE FILM!!!!!!!!!!!! By examining the reception you must defend it against the above criticism. For example, such as in the article by Steve Siporin Life is Beautiful: four riddles, three answers. By comparing and challenging the critics reviews Life is Beautiful is a masterpeice!!!!
2. Thorough investigation of the “Representation of Evil”…..(7 pages)
Topics to cover:
• The films commentary on German Civilization: Dr. Lessing (see article by Carlo Celli Representation of evil in Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautifulp.78. The complete and lack of humanity in this character.
• Progressive dehumanization: the subtle escalation of the racial laws in the plot (1938 racial laws against Jews in Italy)…
• Representation of Italian Fascists and Nazi Germans.
• Penultimate scene where we see piles of corpses through a misty fog!! N.B.
• Plus others!!!
3. Humor……(8 pages)
Humor is used throughout the film however the focus in these pages must be on:
Use of Humor to deflect attention from moments with increased tension….humor is used to create a rupture, a constant rupture and distancing us and characters from apprehensive interactions / moments :
• Guido’s meeting at the town hall seeking permission to open a business: meeting the fascist representative and ultimately knocking a plant on his head and putting eggs in his hat.
• His uncle getting attacked by fascist thugs
• German officer and the use of riddles
• Guido marching about in front of his son (who is hiding in a utility box) before been taken away and killed by a German (off camera)
• Giudo arrives at the local school to demonstrate the superiority of his race (when in fact the inspector due to arrive walks in on Guido’s demonstration to the students)(school speech)
• Guido’s son Giosuè asks about the sign in a shop window refusing entrance “to dogs and Jews”