Only few films mellowed the utter disgust and dismay of this notorious period. Steven Spielberg's, Schindler's List, for example, conveyed realistic, truthful, and tragic accounts of the holocaust. Though its writers retained the atrocious and abhorrent feelings of the moviegoers for the holocaust, they have shown it in a comical fashion. Instead of focusing on the unnerving atrocities done by the soulless tyrants: Mussolini and Hitler, the film emphasized the triumph of the human will and courage against the brutality and the evil that they experienced during World War 2. One of these movies is La vita bella (Life is Beautiful).
The film "Life is Beautiful" is an Italian movie co-written, directed and starred by Roberto Benigni. It is about a young Italian Jew who virtually lives in his imaginative made up fairy tale world during the time when Italy was under Hitler's regime. He later needed to learn how to use his imaginative powers to help his son survive while they were detained in a Nazi concentration camp. The film can be divided into two parts. The first is about Guido's life before he was deported to the concentration camp in Auschwitz, while the remaining half illustrated the experiences that Guido, his wife, Dora, and his son, Giosue had in it.
The first scene of the movie immediately provides us a foresight on the mood and tone of the entire film. In it, the lead actors Guido (Roberto Benigni) and Ferruccio (Sergio Bini Bustric) was telling a story while riding a car. The first line of the story, "[T]his is a simple storybut not an easy one to tellLike a fable, there is sorrowand like a fable, it is full of wonder and happiness." served as a summary of the movie. It also provided us the treatment that Benigni had in his interpretation and portrayal of the Holocaust. This told us that he wanted to present us the holocaust in a positive, even comical, way to inspire us to live our lives in an optimistic and energetic way.
Living at a time when political belief of fascism forms an integral part of the social fabric Benigni, from the time of the film's opening credits, immediately used representations in the scenes to express the political and social milieu. He was able to show in, oral and visual form, the fanaticism and the senselessness of the political ideology that the Italian society embraced dearly in those times.
One of the prominent parts of the movie that elaborately exemplified this is the scene when the car passed by a crowd eagerly waiting for the king. In this scene the car's brake malfunctioned as they as they drove it on the road. Because they could not stop the car, they were forced to pass by a crowd of Nazi supporters waiting for the king's caravan. To signal them that the automobile lost its breaks Guido warded of the crowd by his hands. Due to their loud commotion, the throng did not hear his voice. Instead they perceived his hand gestures as Nazi salute, which gave them the impression that his was the king. The waiting din shouted and waved frantically because of this.
The film presented the fanatical following of Italians to their king. At a time when the fascist ideology was prominent in Germany and Italy, Hitler and Mussolini's charismatic influence of their philosophy to the minds of their constituents was very intense. Their principles of racial supremacy was generally accepted by their countrymen so much that they even failed to provide rational explanation in following them, as