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Love and injury in time of war. Attilio de Giovanni teaches poetry in Italy. He has a romantic soul, and women love him. But he is in love with Vittoria, and the love is unrequited. Every night he dreams of marrying her, in his boxer shorts and t-shirt, as Tom Waits sings. Vittoria travels to Iraq with her friend, Fuad, a poet; they are there with the second Gulf War breaks out. Vittoria is injured. Attilio must get to her side, and then, as war rages around him, he must find her the medical care she needs. In war, does love conquer all? Written by
(The) Beautiful, (the) Gripping and (the) Hilarious
After the Holocaust, Roberto Benigni tackles a more recent but still tricky subject: the second Gulf War.And just like he did with his masterpiece, La Vita è Bella, he perfectly mixes comedy and tragedy, telling a story about love, life and death.
The first half-hour is 100% comedy, as we see Attilio de Giovanni(Benigni) take care of his teenage daughters, teach poetry at university, befriend a camel and desperately woo a woman, Vittoria (Nicoletta Braschi).There's even time for a really funny Sergio Leone homage. The trouble begins when Vittoria is dying in a hospital in Baghdad during the war (she went to Iraq to write a book), and Attilio tries to save her life with the help of his friend and fellow poet Fuad (Jean Reno, whose Italian is remarkably good).Expect a race against the clock stuffed with some incredibly funny material: more camels, Attilio praying Allah (one of the highlights) and even getting caught by American troops because suspected of being a suicide-bomber ("I am Italian" is what he keeps screaming during said scene).
There are a few plot holes (mostly concerning Fuad and his final scene,which has no explanation), but luckily the movie works anyway. Benigni has lost none of his vitality, and he uses all of it in this great picture reminiscent of Chaplin's best films (there's an explicit reference to City Lights).
Poetic and unbelievably beautiful, not to mention really funny, it's a must-see for lovers of European cinema throughout the world.
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