“Life Is Beautiful “(“La vita è bella”) is an Italian comedy-drama film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni.
In Italy, the film was released in 1997. An English subtitled version became a hit in English speaking territories, so Miramax reissued the film in an English dubbed version, but it was less successful than the subtitled Italian version.
The film was a great success, even though it was criticized because “Benigni’s sentimental fantasy diminishes the suffering of Holocaust victims”.
In 1939 in the Kingdom of Italy, Jewish-Italian Guido Orefice arrives at Arezzo. He finds lodgings with his uncle, Eliseo, who helps him to get a job as a waiter in the hotel restaurant where he works.is the maître d’.
In town, he meets a school teacher named Dora who comes from a wealthy family and falls in love with her.
Unfortunately, she is already engaged to a rich arrogant man, a local government official, but Guido starts to court her by appearing out of nowhere at unexpected times and setting up carefully planned coincidences, to show his interest and to make it appear that he is fated to replace the Fascist fiancé in her life.
During all this period Guido and his uncle suffer some acts of persecution because they’re Jewish.
Eventually he manages to win her over with his charm and humour and succeeds in stealing her from her engagement party at the same hotel where he works. During the banquet she combines to meet him on the floor under the table, where they kiss, and she whispers, “Take me away!“. A little later he arrives riding Uncle Eliseo’s horse, which has been painted green and graffitied with the words “Jewish horse”, into the ballroom and sweeps Dora into his arms, and they ride off into the night together, humiliating her fiancé and her mother.
They get married and have a son, Giosuè (Joshua) who has his father’s enthusiasm for life and his mother’s tendency to hiccup. Like his father, he often calls her “Princess”.
Five years later, Guido owns a bookstore, but the situation for Jews has become even more dangerous
(to be continued)