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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
Oh my beloved all creation overflows with passion, and like a golden comet in the sky, from my mouth bursts forth this cry: I love you.
I want to make love to you now.
Attilio de Giovanni:
That's the best line I ever heard in my life.
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Anyone who calls this film superficial, banal or trivial has spectacularly missed the point and is exactly the same type of person who was levelling precisely the same kind of criticism at La Vita è Bella. Now, though I do like Benigni (in my opinion La Vita è Bella is a masterpiece and films like Il Piccolo Diavolo, Johnny Stecchino and Il Mostro are exceedingly worthy comedies - that said I thought Pinocchio was an expensive disaster), I will try to be as objective as possible. In La Tigre e la Neve, Benigni repeats the masterfully delicate feat he accomplished in La Vita è Bella: he touches on complex, spikey issues (in La Vita è Bella it was the holocaust, here we have the war in Iraq) in a fable-like, simple manner - he doesn't politicise the film, and he doesn't delight in the gruesome (and very real) aspects of war. Yet this is NOT trivialisation of the subject matter. To believe that is to believe that the true horrors of war (or the holocaust) can only be conveyed on the screen by a documentary-style approach, and that cannot be the case. Benigni is far more effective - he does not shock the audience with visual representations of war, but his comedy in the face of war creates a subtle paradox that makes the whole film even more touching. La Tigre e La Neve is a fable about love, love in the face of adversity, stubborn optimism, hope and desperation and relationships between people of different races and creeds. Don't expect to see a Michael Moore rant at the injustice of war - Benigni is far more subtle. Perhaps the only criticism I have is that Nicoletta Braschi's performance is not always one hundred percent convincing, but Benigni and Reno more than make up for it. I truly hope it makes it on an international level - definitely a film to watch.
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