Can a war movie be cleverly constructed and contain love, fantasy and humor? Absolutely! 

Released in 1997, the movie Life is Beautiful, originally titled La Vita e Bella, received many awards for this reason and broke box office records in the countries where it was released. Roberto Benigni, the director and one of the screenwriters of the Italian-made movie, also plays the lead role of Guido Orefice in the movie. 

Guido’s story begins in 1939 in Arezzo, Italy. Guido comes to work as a waiter for his uncle and strangely meets Dora, the love of his life. And from the first moment he sees her, he starts calling her “Princess”. Later, these encounters become so frequent that Guido’s love for the beautiful teacher is reciprocated by Dora. Dora and Guido get married and have a child named Joshuat. Everything goes very well.  Until German forces enter Italy and take Guido and his son, who is Jewish.  When Dora learns that her family is being taken to a concentration camp, she doesn’t think twice and, as a Christian, takes the train with them. The beautiful part of the movie starts here. Because Guido describes the concentration camp they are in for his son Joshuat so humorously that this death camp turns into a playground. For Joshuat, this camp is imagined as a place where he and his father can score points and win a tank at the end. Of course, Guido is the biggest architect of this dream. Sometimes under the astonished gaze of the campers, sometimes risking all dangers, he never disturbs this playground of his son’s dream. Although the working conditions in the camp are very harsh, Guido never reveals what is happening to his son.  It is his intelligence, his smile, the dreams he creates and makes him create that make this war movie so unique. Although this playground becomes unbearable for Joshuat at times, Guido never gives up. Each time he tries to convince him that they are close and that they are close to taking the tank. From time to time, Guido also tries to reach his wife in the camp and sends his love to the Princess by playing music for her from the camp. 

Over time, the camp becomes a place where the elderly and children are taken to the gas chambers and only those who can work are allowed to survive. Everyone is rounded up under the pretext of bathing. But little Joshua’s escape from the bath and hiding, even in their home, saves his life. It becomes important for Guido to keep his son out of sight. He tells Joshua that all the children have been caught and that they have collected the most points, so everyone is looking for him. Happy to get the tank, Joshua disobeys his father and another game is added: Not to be seen!

With the entry of American soldiers into the camp, little Joshua’s dreams are realized, albeit half-fulfilled.

“We won, mom. We will go home in a tank. We have a thousand points.”

The film will always remain an original production in terms of its dialogues, acting, music and plot. This warm story about the impact of World War II on people, told mainly through a father and son, won three Academy Awards: Best Foreign Language Film, Best Actor and Best Music. And it won many other awards in its wake. 

“Hayat Güzeldir”, which starts as a love movie, turns into a family movie and then takes its audience to a concentration camp, presents the warmest form of sacrifice to the audience

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