Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni

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Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful is an emotionally moving film that depicts the events many Jewish families had to go through during the Holocaust. Family is a key theme throughout Life is Beautiful and is depicted in almost every scene. The first half of the film revolves around the romantic love story of Guido and Dora. Guido manages to know exactly where to find Dora and does whatever he can to be around her. Guido makes himself stand out to her by appearing magical. He does this by conveniently being at the right place at just the right time. Dora was engaged to marry an unpleasant, self-centered banker, but Guido rescues her from her own engagement party. Somehow, Guido manages to get the girl of his dreams by simply sweeping Dora off her feet and taking her away from the party on horseback. The film skips time to show that Guido and Dora have created a family, and they now have a son, Joshua. Then it continues showing how Guido, his uncle, and Joshua manage the small family store together. Everything seems to be alright until the family is taken from their home and sent to a concentration camp. When the family is in the concentration camp, they are separated, starved, and tested in every way. The boys are barracked together and remain very close until Guido’s uncle does not return from working one day. Guido tries to stay strong to prevent Joshua from getting worried. Dora is separated from her family when they arrive at the camp, so Guido tries to communicate with her in any way he can. He finds a way to speak with her over the PA system and plays a familiar song to her out of a window. These small actions keep Dora hopeful and let her know that her family is still alive. Guido starts to doubt his own abilities though... ... middle of paper ... ... shows the effects of a self-fulfilling prophecy on a very large scale; people started acting better than others after being told they were superior. They were being influenced by those who believed in an Aryan race and acted accordingly. From beginning to end, Benigni does a great job at keeping the film emotionally interesting. The way family is portrayed in this film reflects the topics we have studied in class, such as the fact that in some lifestyles the bond of a family is meant to be strong and held above all other things. This film also shows how non-Jewish acted accordingly to the self-fulfilling prophecy created by the German leaders, and the widespread ethnic discrimination directed at the Jewish society. The Holocaust was a time of drastic social changes, and this movie does a great job at depicting the different views society held at this time period.
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