movie: Life is beautiful

A few years ago, a friend Rahul verma asked me to not miss a movie that was to be aired on TV on a Christmas Day. He said “no matter what happens … DONT miss it” I asked why whats the story about… etc but he refused to reveal any details except the bare minimum.

But then there were some relatives visiting at home; and I didnt want to watch the movie in pieces so I ended up missing it. And then I eventually forgot about it.

But I did see it recently … and must say it really captivated my heart!! 🙂

Though I would like to write a lot more about it, I’ll keep it to the minimum…

[Btw I wouldnt set expectations too high, because sometimes I find a movie truly outstanding, eg Finding Nemo, and find that somebody else wonders what on earth I found so extraordinary about it 🙂 ]

Life is Beautiful
(Italian movie with English subtitles)

Vita è bella, La (1997)
Directed by

Roberto Benigni
A Jewish man (in Italy) has a wonderful romance with the help of his humour. Then he gets married, and later he, his wife and five year old son are taken by a NAZI concentration camp.

It is starts off as a comedy, and when circumstances change – it remains a comedy – under the most contrasting circumstances.

Probably it would be available in any VCD/DVD rental. Of course its easy to get the rest of the story outline through google/etc, but I’d suggest to avoid that and just watch it letting things unfold (without waiting for something dramatic to happen because its the entire movie thats good).

2 Responses to “movie: Life is beautiful”

  1. msanjay Says:

    One Indian movie I liked for similar reasons – the never-say-die of human spirit, was Anand.

    Anyway, here are some things I found particularly interesting in this particular movie…

    ***************** SPOILER ALERT ********************
    Scrolling down not recommended if you havent seen the movie
    ***************** SPOILER ALERT ********************


    The most striking feature of course is the innocence of the kid in the midst of all this, and his father’s brilliant wit in providing him the “right” answers to every situation!

    Emotional Stability

    I found it unusual that all the prisoners were so quietly facing their fate, there was not much of crying or nobody hysterically screaming or anything of that sort.
    Accepted its just artistic license in the film, but I believe it would be true and close to reality atleast to a small percentage. I find that in the west people in general seem to handle an emotional crisis in a more balanced way. But still this was quite hard to digest esp in the “shower” chamber. But I liked his Uncle’s show of couresy even in that situation.

    The Doctor’s Last Puzzle

    When this guy discreetly approaches his doctor friend inside the camp, talking about his wife and kid who are there counting down days to be terminated, and all the doctor is obsessed with is his puzzle and that’s the only thing he cares about, he is too bloody thick to either understand the position of the man, or is too indifferent to care. I think this narrowmindedness is not so uncommon sometimes exhibhited even by very learned PhD level people too (eg conducting highly intellectual research but involving animal vivisection!). Roberto’s reaction is of course amazing!

    Quotes from the Uncle Benetto (? Not sure of exact name)

    [explaining the art of being a waiter to his nephew new to the job]

    Think of a sunflower, they bow down to the sun. But if you see some that are too bowed down, it means theyre dead! Youre serving, youre not a servant.

    Serving is a supreme art. God is the first servant. God serves men, but he’s not a servant to men!


    Why didn’t you cry out?

    Silence is the most powerful cry.

    [showing his newphew and his friend around his house]

    You’ll have to make do here, its an old storehouse full of odds and ends in itself. An old passion, an odd and end in itself!

    Nothing is more necessary than the unnecessary.

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