Buon Giorno, Principessa!
A man is a perfect creature of nature endowed with an exceptional ability to think. With the help of intelligence, people can manage their life transforming trivial things into miracles, individual weaknesses into advantages, the worst situations into the adventures, etc. That is why many moments in the history seemed to bring the end to the world or destroy the nations, but they strangely turned into a new stage of development. Moreover, even during the most tragic historical periods, people fell in love, married, gave birth the children, and wrote songs and poems. They lived when all circumstances sentenced them to death, giving no way out. A human brain that constantly creates individual reality based on fears or believes is the primary reason for such changes. People often underestimate the interconnection between their way of thinking and life path. They consider themselves as readers of their personal life stories that have been written to them by destiny. Indeed, people are the writers who should create their lives from the first to the last breaths and the earlier they understand this fact, the more beautiful their life can be. The paper seeks to analyze the film Life Is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni to show that people can be above the circumstances and daily create a fine individual world for themselves and their families.
The famous motion picture by Roberto Benigni has a profound historical context. The life of a young Jewish family who became the victims of the Holocaust is the core of the picture. Despite the authors present one of the most tragic periods of Jewish nation’s history his work is not overloaded with horrific scenes revealing all horrors the Jews suffered in Nazi concentration camps. Obviously, he could not avoid depicting the intolerable living conditions of camp’s residents, hard work they did and the crime against the whole humanity, such as gas chambers where children and old Jews were killed because they were insignificant elements of harsh reality. However, these historical aspects appear in the film involuntary to underline the exceptional nature of the central characters who were struggling to resist all sufferings optimistically. Such humoristic approach to depict the tragic historical context caused a lot of debates and even disapproval from the colleagues. However, it played a crucial role in emphasizing the value of humans and beauty of the human life despite any political agenda.
Each art element that Roberto Benigni used in the film was aimed at disclosing the flamboyance and versatility of human beings. The riot of the colors, the events’ dynamics and unpredictability, the vivacity of the characters’ movements and their expressiveness were used in the picture as the reflection of protagonist’s vision of the world. Moreover, they did not only complement and disclose the temper of Guido, who was the central character, but also presented the uniqueness of Italy where the motion picture was shot. Thus, the first part of the film seems to depict a beautiful tale. On such picturesque and light background, Guido’s cheerful position looks natural, and the viewer can hardly understand the depth of hero’s personality. However, the real story becomes quite evident later when the bright decorations are replaced with black and white tones. However, in this dark colors director manages to keep the sense of beauty. In this way, Robert Benigni shows that the man is the primary carrier, source, and creator of the life beauty and everything that surround him can be used for this purpose. Thus, the scene where the hero uses the song to convey his feeling to his wife, since there was no other way to do this, is bright and at the same time delicate confirmation to the previous statement.
The message of life being beautiful the author embodied in his central character Guido through = his acts, speech, and gestures with substantial philosophical meaning. Being young and carefree man, who has just come to the small Italian town from the village, Guido enjoys everything he meets on his way. The landscapes, funny conversation with a girl, “flying pigeons and women who fall from the heaven” give him great pleasure. From the first episodes, the viewer sees Guido as an eccentric or humoristic character, but the author later puts him in the most serious situations that reveal his numerous significant traits, such as sharp wit, observation, communication, tolerance and fortitude. Guido’s curiosity transforms into the life-affirming philosophy in the light of these virtues. Thus, one can notice his desire to surprise and impress others and no visible fear of consequences. Openness to the world and communication, risk and recklessness are the integral parts of his nature. Being lead by them, Guido dares to win the heart of a young teacher Dora who is the prefect’s bride and succeeds in this through his ability to transform routine into miracle. Thus, such acts as riding the uncle’s green horse painted by the hooligans, presenting number of coincidences as power of will, making an umbrella from the pillow are the means, which the author uses to disclose the inner beauty of his hero. Moreover, most likely Benigni similarly used emotions to show the meaning of human life. If the viewers think more deeply, they can certainly understand that all information about the events in their lives that people write in the books are actually memories about them in human’s hearts, and they have substantial emotional ground to influence persons’ perception of the further life. Thus, the beauty is the only reflection of spiritual pureness. To confirm this statement, the author used the connection between the father and his son. With the help of his individual inner beauty, Guido creates a magnificent world for his son transforming the harsh reality into the exciting game with a prize. The father saved not only son’s life but also the beauty of his life in future by preventing such emotions as hatred to their oppressors, insult or thirst for revenge that poison human soul and do not allow seeing the beauty of life.
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To emphasize the crucial elements and transmit the significant messages Roberto Benigni used many linguistic elements. His unique greeting “Buon Giorno, Principessa!” which Guido said when he first met his future wife, became a secret code of their intimate feelings. Moreover, despite the simplicity and triviality of this phrase, it carries a significant emotional message as if it is the key to the happiness or evidence of the beauty in diverse situations. Thus, the author used it to show the imagination of the hero. This phrase was a tool for informing his wife that he and their son are still alive. Moreover, Guido taught his son such addressing to Dora that embodied the eternal beauty and ability to transmit it from generation to generation.
Besides, numerous metaphors in the film emphasize crucial elements of internal beauty. Thus, the concept of silence appears repeatedly. Guido’s uncle claims that the hush is the loudest sound. Guido’s son Joshua should keep silent the majority of the time they are in the camp. The doctor, who is the frequent guest of the restaurant where Guido works, asked the hero a riddle, questioning whose name should be said aloud to cause a thing or person to disappear. In addition, the silence most likely is the symbol of spiritual balance and harmony that are inextricably linked to the beauty. By the means of these elements, the author underlines its fragility and significance for successful living. The darkness is one more eloquent symbol that appears in the one of dialogs. By saying that the more darkness exists in the world, the fewer people can see it, the author means the shameful essence of Nazism, all horrors it has caused, and the blindness of the human souls that often obstruct happiness and destroy the beauty of life.
Thus, silent Benigni’s disapproval of human indifference to the tragedy people who live nearby experience can be noticed in the behavior of the other film’s heroes. Starting from the conversation between Dora’s colleague about school task, aimed at finding the amount of savings that killing the ill people can bring to the budget, and ending with the doctor’s fixation on solving puzzles and ignoring the horror and pain of his patients. The last example is the brightest moment in the motion picture because it showed grieve and disappointment in Guido’s eyes. It happened only once during the whole storyline. Thus, the author showed that indifference could ruin the best things in the world. This moment also pushes the viewer to the idea that the indifference in its essence becomes bigger evil than Nazism, because such cruel movement could not exist without it. This accent on the individual responsibility for the beauty of own soul seems to be the most meaningful message of the author that sounds like a lesson for the whole humanity and calls to prevent the repetition of tragedies like this in the future.
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Thus, the film Life Is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni belongs to the multisided motion pictures that rife with plenty of philosophic messages transmitted by the means of diverse art instruments. The diversity of colors, sounds, depth of linguistic metaphors, and characters’ line of behavior are aimed at versatile presentation of the central hero who is the person with unprecedented internal beauty. The author carefully discloses numerous crucial aspects of his personality, emphasizing the traits Benigni considers crucial for the individual perfection and saving the world’s beauty. Summing up, the author raises the question of the person’s individual responsibility for his or her life that is the crucial precursor for common prosperity. People should keep in mind that by writing their personal life story, they take part in writing the history of their family, native town, nation and the whole world. Thus, no tragedies would happen if each person followed the simple principle of saving internal beauty as Robert Benigni called to do.