February 15, 2012

Preconceived Notions

At one point in your life, you’ll soon regret them.

In 1999, I watched on television as Roberto Benigni’s name was announced as the winner for the Best Actor category in the Academy Awards for “Life is Beautiful.”

There was a huge applause from the crowd and with great reason; the film came out of nowhere and received glowing reviews from critics worldwide. His performance was what breathed life into the film and made it into a media darling leading to this event.

I guess knowing all this, Mr. Benigni was unable to contain himself from the exuberance and excitement of winning an Academy. From what I remembered, he uncontrollably waved to the esteemed guests in the building with a big smile on his face and started walking along the headrests of the chairs like a trapeze act. You know, just because he can.

After seeing all this, I told to myself, “What a jackass. What if he fell from the headrests and land on someone, say Dame Judy Dench and injure her in the process because of his reckless abandon? What is it about him that people love? I hate him. He sucks! Die, Benigni!” Since then, I held this stupid grudge against Mr. Benigni.

Until I saw “Life is Beautiful.”

Before I begin poking my finger on the parts of the film I immensely enjoyed, which is almost every part, I would have to sincerely apologize to Mr. Benigni. Truly, I was blinded by my teenage angst, which is after all the building block of hater-ism, and for that, I am sorry.

“Life is Beautiful,” is an exercise of subtlety. I was aware of the danger presented by the Nazis in the film, but I was not afraid of their presence. How the film handled the nuance of these hate-filled people at the time was nothing short of sublime. It greatly spoke of how Benigni’s performance as the lovable idiot/loving father who served as the rose-colored spectacle during those dark times deserved the highest award granted to a male actor that year.

I could opine more about the film but searching the film on the Internet would yield you much better critical reviews about its beauty.

However, I leave you with this – sometimes, it’s a damn good thing when you’re wrong.

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