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Posted on July 26th, 2012, by

La Villa Bella known also Life Is Beautiful is a movie about human spirit that is able to overcome all the difficulties in the name of love. The role of Roberto Benigni in this film is undisputable: he is the director, co-writer and the main actor. Being released in October, 1998 it has gained great popularity among the audience. It is a film about the most important human values: family, love and imagination. These three things make sense of our life and allow be happy even in the most difficult moments of our life. This movie tells us a story of Jewish Italian who lived in Italia and who due to his sense of humor and imagination found his true love and protected his son from the cruelty and death in the Nazi concentration camps during WWII.

It seems that La Villa Bella is not one movie but two different stories connected by the main theme. The beginning and the end of the film is told by Joshue, the main characters’ son, who has come through the Nazi concentration camps. The first part of the film reminds a romantic comedy. A young Jewish Italian, Guido (starred by Roberto Benigni), arriving in Arezzo falls in love with Dora (starred by Nicoletta Braschi, Benigni’s real wife). Guido is very nice and outgoing. Dora is inspired by his sense of humor. They love each other passionately and at last get married.

In a few years they have a son, whose name is Joshua (starred by Giorgio Cantarini). Everything seems to be perfect in their family life till the Second World War breaks out.

The second part of the film is a vivid story about all the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. All the characters are taken to the concentration camp just on their son’s birthday. However, even in such terrible times Guido does not loose courage. He persuades his son that this is all a game and if Joshua wins it, he will get a real tank. Guido tells his son that the Nazi guards also want to take the tank so he must hide from them in order to win more points. If Joshua complains on hunger or cold, he loses points. When Joshua starts insisting on ending the game, his father reminds him about the tank. Guido’s performance is so convincing and real that his son never doubts it despite all the terrible things happening around them.

The last scene of the film is very tragic and touching. Guido makes his son stay in a sweatbox explaining that this is the last task for winning the tank. At the same time he is caught by the Nazi guard and shot while looking for his lost wife. Even in the last moment of life he makes his son laugh parading the guard. Joshua believes that he has won the game because he sees an American tank that rescues him and brings back to his mother.

The cultural component is very important in the film. The film remains truly Italian. The story is retold in the time of Holocaust and it is also an important theme in the film, as well as the themes of love and self-sacrifice. Music plays a very important role in revealing this theme. Such Italian songs, as La Notte Di Fuga, Il Treno Nel Buio, Il Gioco Di Giosue and others create a vivid picture of real historical events during Holocaust. La Villa Bella shows the true nature of people and how characters change under the press of difficulties. All the scenes take place in the Nazi Italy.

The film could have seemed international if not some peculiarities which make it truly Italian. National color of the country is shown with the help of different details. First of all, main characters’ names are truly Italian, as well as their behavior. Another detail is the background of the film historical Italian places. The next and the most important cultural component is Italian music which is unique and can not be compared with any other in the world.

When we hear it we feel the country’s culture and enjoy it (cited in MacCabe).

The quality and importance of the movie can be easily proved by its numerous awards. Life is Beautiful won Academy Rewards for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Music and Original Dramatic Store. It was also nominated for Film Editing, Directing, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture. The director, Benigni, won in nomination for Best Actor. It is also the Grand Prix winner at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.

Life is Beautiful is a movie that shows us how loving heart can sacrifice his life in the name of his beloved people. It can’t leave you indifferent because it arouses eternal problems that touch our souls. It releases the true nature of humanity and proves that even in the most difficult time of horrors and adversity there is always place for the heroic deed. The film’s popularity may be explained not only by the theme chosen but also by the vivid images that the main characters create in front of our eyes and bright Italian color.

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