Movie of the Week: Life is Beautiful (1998)

     Winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in early 1999, Roberto Benigni's Life is Beautiful, remains in the top three best movies of this film student.  If you want humor and romance, you got it.  If you want death and hatred, you got it.  If you want psychology of family relations, you got it.  Theatrical-style body language and antics, done.  A creative twist of plot and divine intervention, it's there.  If you haven't seen this one, folks, you're missing out.

     With the setting being 1940's World War era Italy, racial tension and hate crimes are the focal conflict of the film; the weight of the plot revolves around the father, played by Benigni, protecting the mind of his son by convincing him that the train ride away from home and the concentration camp is a great contest to win a full size tank.  The most creative scene in the whole film involves a room that resembles a garden, a man and a woman going into the garden, temporal displacement, and a child comes out.  Enough said.   

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