The Manifestation of Wicked in Roberto Benigni's A lot more Beautiful PUBLISHER: CARLO CELLI
TITLE: The Representation of Evil in Roberto Benigni's Life Is Fabulous SOURCE: Journal of Popular Film and Television 28 no2 74-9 Summ 2150 The journal publisher is a copyright holder of this article in fact it is reproduced with permission. Additional reproduction of this article in breach of the copyright laws is forbidden.
If the subject of Life Is Fabulous (La vita ГЁ bella) became public knowledge, there was apprehension because of Roberto Benigni's reputation as a comedian that he might not approach the main topic of the Shoah with ideal sobriety and respect. The film used a visual and thematic technique contrary to the usual in contemporary commercial theatre because of the lack of scenes of horror or violence. Critique focused on the film's famous veracity and suspension of disbelief. For example , Daniel Vogelmann, an Italian language Jew who lost family members at Auschwitz, rejected the concept of presenting the evil of Holocaust in a manner that might deceived new years into about the film because factual. In the us, critic David Denby led the protest against the film by panning the film as " unconvincing" and " self-congratulatory" and accusing Benigni of perpetrating a Holocaust refusal (Denby 96). A animation of a despairing concentration camp prisoner keeping an Oscar statuette accompanied Denby's New Yorker assessment. Art Spiegelman, the author of the Holocaust comic book series Maus, drew the toon and referred to as the film a " banalization" with the Holocaust (Polese 1). Benigni had prepared for potential criticism simply by inviting Marcello Pezzetti of the Center for Contemporary Hebrew Documentation (Centro Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea) of Milan to serve as historical consultant for the film. The aim was going to gain not merely the approval in the Italian Legislation community although also the help of its users. Benigni had seen Ruggiero Gabbai's documentary film Memory (Memoria) (1997), in which Pezzetti interviews Italian Auschwitz remainders. Pezzetti, who have refused to take a fee for his services on Benigni's film, understood the enormous professional risk involved in aiding an actor with a comic status like Benigni on such a delicate task; indeed, there was clearly the danger which the film can spark a Holocaust comedy genre in the manner that Liliana Cavani's Nighttime Porter (Portiere di notte) (1974) created a genre of Nazi pornography motion pictures in the 1970s. Pezzetti was likewise aware of the disappointing history of Italian films depicting the Shoah. Holocaust films have already been infrequent, while demonstrated by the small number of American films about them. In fact , eighty percent of films on the Shoah had been produced in European countries, and American production is only half of French production. Italia in particular was almost with out films within the Holocaust until Gillo Pontecorvo's KapГІ (1959) and a chain of Jews praying just before execution in Roberto Rossellini's General Della Rovere (Il Generale della Rovere) (1959). The first Italian film on the subject got anti-Semitic overtones: Goffredo Alessandrini's The Roaming Jew (L'ebreo errante) (1947), a characterization of the fable of the roaming Jew who have expiates his sins inside the Nazi camps. Later Italian language films for the Holocaust are not any more effective. Again in spite of intentions, Gillo Pontecorvo's KapГІ has historic and plot inconsistencies like the final love story involving the Russian prisoner and the deportee. Pontecorvo's film, unlike Benigni's, was criticized for demonstrating too many views of struggling deportees for the point penalized accused of " porn material. " Other films presented more visually pleasing portrayals of the deportations, such as Vittorio De Sica's bourgeois Holocaust drama, the winner of the Oscar for optimum Foreign Film, The Garden in the Finzi Continis (Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini) (1970). Through this film the spectators identify with the desirable and semi-noble...
Cited: Baudry, Jean John. L 'effet cinГ©ma. Rome: Albatros, 78.
Benigni, Roberto, and Vincenzo Cerami. La vita ГЁ bella. Milano: Einaudi, 1998.
Chion, Michel. Audio-Vision: Audio on Screen. Trans. Claudia Gorbman. New York: Columbia UP, 1994.
Cerami, Vincenzo. Consigli a este giovane autore. Torino: Einaudi, 1996.
Denby, David. " In the Eye with the Beholder. Another Look at Roberto Benigni 's Holocaust Imagination. " Fresh Yorker Marly. 15, 99: 96-99.
Frankl, Viktor E. Man is actually Search for Meaning. New York: Wa Square, 1984.
Grassi, Giovanna. " Benigni: Moretti ' giГ vinto l 'Ulivo d 'oro. " Corriere della est May 18, 1998.
Kracauer, Siegfried. From Caligari to Hitler. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1966.
Lyotard, Jean-Francois. " Understanding the Postmodern. " Postmodernism. Ed. Mack Appignanesi. London: Institute intended for Contemporary Artwork, 1986.
Lerner, Gad. Pinocchio (television program). Rai a couple of, 1999.
Pezzetti, Marcello. " Considerazioni sulla rappresentazione della Shoa advertising opera del cinema. " Storia at the memoria della deportazione. Milano: Giuntina, 1996.
Rivette, M. " Para l 'abjection. " Cahiers du Movie theater 120 (1961).
Polese, Ranieri. " Spiegelman, una vignetta per not dimenticare. " Corriere della sera March 30, 99.
Simonelli, Giorgio. Datemi este Nobel! D 'opera comica di Roberto Benigni. Alessandria: Falsopiano, 1998.
Tesson, Charles. " M 'enfance de la mГ©moire a propos sobre 'La Strive est Belle. " Cahiers du Movie theater 529 (Nov. 1998): 46-48.
Vogelmann, Daniel. Rev. of La vita Г© bella. Il tirreno 18 (Dec. 1997): 1 .