TS Reminder: Free Movie, Music & Poetry at the Palace Today
touchst at cy-net.net
Fri May 4 05:31:33 CDT 2007
Don't forget the free Veterans for Peace movie
night tonight (May 4) at the Palace Theater in
downtown Bryan (105 S. Main). Musician Andrew
Hayes and the Revolution Slam Poetry team start
at 7 PM. The movie "Life is Beautiful" starts at
8:30 PM. For more information, see below or touchst at cy-net.net or 777-8758.
At 06:58 AM 4/30/2007, you wrote:
Our local chapter of the Veterans for Peace is
showing a free movie along with music and poetry
at the Palace Theater in downtown Bryan (105 S.
Main Street) this coming Friday evening (May
4). The movie is "Life is Beautiful". (I place
a review by Roger Ebert below.) Singer Andrew
Hayes and the Revolution Slam Poetry team will
each perform prior to the start of the movie.
The target audience for these movie nights
is high school and college-aged people who may
possibly soon be going into the military and
their parents. However, all those interested are
welcome and encouraged to attend. Please also
encourage others to attend as well. We would
like to have a good attendance and fill the Palace Theater.
The music and poetry start at 7 PM and the movie showing at 8:30.
For more information call me at 777-8758 or email touchst at cy-net.net.
Life Is Beautiful
Release Date: 1998
Ebert Rating: ***½
By Roger Ebert Oct 30, 1998
Some people become clowns; others have clownhood
thrust upon them. It is impossible to regard
Roberto Benigni without imagining him as a boy in
school, already a cutup, using humor to deflect
criticism and confuse his enemies. He looks goofy
and knows how he looks. I saw him once in a line
at airport customs, subtly turning a roomful of
tired and impatient travelers into an audience
for a subtle pantomime in which he was the
weariest and most put-upon. We had to smile.
``Life Is Beautiful'' is the role he was born to
play. The film falls into two parts. One is pure
comedy. The other smiles through tears. Benigni,
who also directed and co-wrote the movie, stars
as Guido, a hotel waiter in Italy in the 1930s.
Watching his adventures, we are reminded of Chaplin.
He arrives in town in a runaway car with failed
brakes and is mistaken for a visiting dignitary.
He falls in love instantly with the beautiful
Dora (Nicoletta Braschi, Benigni's real-life
wife). He becomes the undeclared rival of her
fiance, the Fascist town clerk. He makes friends
with the German doctor (Horst Buchholz) who is a
regular guest at the hotel and shares his love of
riddles. And by the fantastic manipulation of
carefully planned coincidences, he makes it
appear that he is fated to replace the dour Fascist in Dora's life.
All of this early material, the first long act of
the movie, is comedy--much of it silent comedy
involving the fate of a much-traveled hat. Only
well into the movie do we even learn the crucial
information that Guido is Jewish. Dora, a
gentile, quickly comes to love him, and in one
scene even conspires to meet him on the floor
under a banquet table; they kiss, and she
whispers, ``Take me away!'' In the town, Guido
survives by quick improvisation. Mistaken for a
school inspector, he invents a quick lecture on
Italian racial superiority, demonstrating the
excellence of his big ears and superb navel.
Several years pass, offscreen. Guido and Dora are
married and dote on their 5-year-old son Joshua
(Giorgio Cantarini). In 1945, near the end of the
war, the Jews in the town are rounded up by the
Fascists and shipped by rail to a death camp.
Guido and Joshua are loaded into a train, and
Guido instinctively tries to turn it into a game
to comfort his son. He makes a big show of being
terrified that somehow they will miss the train
and be left behind. Dora, not Jewish, would be
spared by the Fascists, but insists on coming
along to be with her husband and child.
In the camp, Guido constructs an elaborate
fiction to comfort and protect his son. It is all
an elaborate game, he explains. The first one to
get 1,000 points will win a tank--not a toy tank
but a real one, which Joshua can drive all over
town. Guido acts as the translator for a German
who is barking orders at the inmates, freely
translating them into Italian designed to quiet
his son's fears. And he literally hides the child
from the camp guards, with rules of the game that
have the boy crouching on a high sleeping
platform and remaining absolutely still.
At this year's Toronto Film Festival, Benigni
told me that the movie has stirred up venomous
opposition from the right wing in Italy. At
Cannes, it offended some left-wing critics with
its use of humor in connection with the
Holocaust. What may be most offensive to both
wings is its sidestepping of politics in favor of
simple human ingenuity. The film finds the right
notes to negotiate its delicate subject matter.
And Benigni isn't really making comedy out of the
Holocaust, anyway. He is showing how Guido uses
the only gift at his command to protect his son.
If he had a gun, he would shoot at the Fascists.
If he had an army, he would destroy them. He is a
clown, and comedy is his weapon.
The movie actually softens the Holocaust
slightly, to make the humor possible at all. In
the real death camps there would be no role for
Guido. But ``Life Is Beautiful'' is not about
Nazis and Fascists, but about the human spirit.
It is about rescuing whatever is good and hopeful
from the wreckage of dreams. About hope for the
future. About the necessary human conviction, or
delusion, that things will be better for our children than they are right now.
Cast & Credits
Guido: Roberto Benigni
Dora: Nicoletta Braschi
Giosue: Giorgio Cantarini
Zio: Giustino Durano
Ferruccio: Sergio Bustric
Doctor Lessing: Horst Buchholz
Directed By Roberto Benigni. Written By Vincenzo
Cerami And Benigni. Running Time: 114 Minutes.
Rated PG-13 (For Holocaust-Related Thematic Elements).
Phone and FAX at home: (979) 696-8695
Phone and FAX at work: (979) 845-3436
Cell: (979) 777-8758
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