Editor's Disclaimer: I loathe Life is Beautiful.

Roberto Benigni hasn't made much noise on these shores, since his disasterous post-Oscar adaptation of Pinocchio, but his latest project, a Life is Beautiful-esque comedy-drama set in post-war Iraq, is sure to turn a few American heads. Benigni showed The Tiger and the Snow to Italian critics this week, and response was more or less positive. Though the filmmaker is decidedly liberal, and the film generally anti-war, he insisted at a press conference that it's not meant as a work of ideological propaganda. In his typically drippy words: "In general, war films appeal to reason, to the head of the viewer. This one points at the heart. There is no ideology, but for that reason it is stronger."

According to The Guardian's John Hooper, Tiger is infused with Benigni's trademark namby-pamby optimism (an apparent suicide bomber approaches a US checkpoint, and the American soldiers lower their guns when he tells them he's a poet), and as such, it might find its harshest criticism amongst the Italian anti-war left. And indeed, the critic of Italy's foremost leftist daily paper called it "unrealistic, silly, well-intentioned and opportunistic", whilst generally seeming to approve of the film's spirit. I haven't seen the film, but I'm obviously fearing the worst. I think the main issue is one of perspective: when we're still so heavily mired in tragedy, is it really the appropriate time for a dewy-eyed comedy? Or am I so clouded by my distaste for Benigni's filmography that I'm totally off the mark on this one?
categories Movies, Cinematical