Wednesday, February 8

Free Speech

As part of the ongoing furor unleashed in the Muslim world over the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, the Iranian daily Hamshahri is hosting an international contest for the best caricature of the Holocaust.

Iran must have forgotten that Roberto Benigni has already won that dubious honor. If Iran really wants to caricature the Holocaust, they ought to host a public screening of Life is Beautiful.

3 Comments:

Blogger The Persian said...

I've never heard of that film. That saddens me about Iran.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Sandouri Dean Bey said...

It came out in '97, and Benigni won an Academy Award for his performance. Almost everyone I know loved it, but I hated it. I thought it totally undermined and made light of the horrors of the Holocaust. Although films like Schindler's List and The Pianist were brutal to watch, I think that they did justice to the subject matter, whereas I thought Benigni's treatment was dishonest and flippant. Most of my friends disagreed.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous L said...

James Berardinelli (a movie reviewer) wrote the following in 1998:

"Life is Beautiful has come under attack in some circles for mocking the Holocaust. Nothing could be further from the truth. Benigni takes the subject matter very seriously, as is obvious from the subtle air of menace that hangs over the film's second half. A movie does not have to be as grim and gut-wrenching as Schindler's List to get the point across. The central theme of Life is Beautiful -- that people will do whatever is necessary to protect what is most dear to them -- is conveyed in a moving and singularly effective manner. Although there is an element of joy in observing the absurdly complex fantasies that Guido develops for Giosue's consumption, there's also a deep sense of melancholy every time we consider where the characters are and what their fate may be."

I can certainly understand why some might take issue with certain elements of the film. To equate, however, Benigni's motives with the current situation in Iran seems a bit unfair.

4:19 PM  

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