Author Topic: The tiger and the snow a film directed by Roberto Benigni  (Read 3107 times)

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poor me

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The tiger and the snow a film directed by Roberto Benigni
« on: January 03, 2007, 03:54:40 AM »
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Soon after the start of hostilities in Iraq, Rome-based lovestruck poet and lecturer Attilio heads to Baghdad when he learns from his friend, Iraqi poet Fuad, that the woman he loves, Vittoria, has been critically injured in a bomb explosion. Attilio does everything in his power to save her, risking his own life amongst falling masonry, exploding bombs, confrontation on every side by horrors and disasters of war, road-blocks, mine-fields, and looters. When he is not dashing off in search of medicine and supplies, he spends every minute of the day and night taking tender care of his beloved--who is unaware of all he is doing for her, since she remains unconscious. At the moment Vittoria at last opens her eyes again, Attilio is no longer with her; he has been captured by American troops, his presence having been betrayed by the endless ringing of his cell-phone. Vittoria who has no idea that she was saved by her bizarre, poetry-scribbling suitor, but will Attilio will ever tell her?

Director    

Roberto Benigni

Cast

Roberto Benigni
Nicoletta Braschi
Jean Reno
Emilia Fox
Tom Waits
Amid Farid
Giuseppe Battiston
Andrea Renzi
Gianfranco Varetto
Chiara Pirri
Anna Pirri
Abdelhafid Metalsi
Lucia Poli
Release Date    December 29, 2006
Running Time    115 mins.
Studio    Strand Releasing[/color]

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« Last Edit: January 05, 2007, 06:54:26 PM by Poor me alias Buru »

poor me

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Re: The tiger and the snow a film directed by Roberto Benigni
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2007, 04:18:39 PM »
The Tiger and the Snow is another objectionable romantic comedy from Roberto Benigni, a con man who treats war as his comedic playground. Tempting as it is to applaud the director's temporal experimentations, a chokepoint is reached when the film, after jumping for the umpteenth time between past and present, fantasy and a ludicrous version of real life, reveals itself to be in service of a lunatic narcissist's idea of artistic freedom. A concession to hipsters, Tom Waits stars as the wedding singer of Benigni's dreams, in which Artillio (Benigni) arrives at his fantasy nuptials to Vittoria (Nicoletta Braschi) in his boxers. Awake, she appears to Atillio as a researcher at a university where he teaches poetry of all things. There's no rationale for why she succumbs to her stalker's come-ons (her arbitrary tears in a bathroom reveal nothing), or reason for why she slips into the night as Atillio boasts of seeing her in the candles in his apartment and in the bubbles in his champagne; it's as if he were talking to himself, and yet the grin on her face would suggest that she doesn't mind that his words could curdle milk. When Vittoria heads to Iraq to research the work of the great Faud (Jean Reno), Atillio follows suit and learns that she is in a hospital ill-supplied to treat her injuries, which forces him to forge through the country to find the ingredients for the anti-dema she requires. With grotesque arrogance and blindness to everything but his own twisted fixation to Vittoria, Atillo will nearly be shot by American troops who mistake the medical supplies strapped to his body for explosives, pratfall through a dirt field laced with bombs, and end up in prison thanks to his cell phone. What is most reprehensible about Benigni's vision is not that the horrors in Iraq (including an out-of-nowhere suicide) exist only to boost his character's perverse romanticism, or even that the writer-director takes no discernable stance on the war in the country, but that Benigni asks us to picture his divine manhood ascending to the heavens.

Ed Gonzalez
 slant magazine, 2006.

poor me

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Re: The tiger and the snow a film directed by Roberto Benigni
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2007, 04:23:31 PM »
THE TIGER AND THE SNOW



American filmgoers have not seen much of Roberto Benigni since 1999, when his Life Is Beautiful won the Oscars for best foreign-language film and best actor. That wildly original movie was ostensibly a comedy, but it was set during the Holocaust of World War II. In it, Benigni played a father who tries to keep his son's spirits up by inventing games and performance pieces using any prop he can find during their months in the Nazi death camps.

The Tiger and the Snow is based on a similar idea--but in this film Benigni discovers comedy and pathos in a different war, the one currently raging in Iraq. However, this is essentially a romantic love story in which Benigni casts himself (Woody Allen-like) as Attilio, a poet and professor who's also a love-starved divorcÚ harboring a passionate desire for the beautiful Vittoria (Nicoletta Braschi, aka Mrs. Roberto Benigni), ignoring the fact that she barely gives him the time of day. She's more interested in the biography she's writing about a famed Iraqi poet, Fuad (the wonderful French actor Jean Reno), who happens to be a friend to both Attilio and Vittoria.

How does Benigni get these three characters to Iraq in the spring of 2003, shortly after the American invasion and the fall of Saddam? Well, Fuad--who has lived as an exile in Paris for many years--decides he must return to his country during this volatile yet hopeful time, and Vittoria--who needs further interviews for her book--follows him to Baghdad. Back in Rome, Attilio gets a middle-of-the-night phone call from Fuad telling him that Vittoria was injured in a bomb explosion and is not expected to live. Attilio is literally incapable of accepting this prognosis, and he becomes convinced he's the only one who can save his true love. So he decides to go to Baghdad to do just that.

We're already aware of Attilio's ultra-passionate nature--in the way he has courted Vittoria, declaring his undying love for her in outpourings of poetry, and in the way he exhorts his students to live and love, to embrace words and ideas and beauty in all things. Defying the Italian and Iraqi authorities, Attilio pretends to be a Red Cross volunteer and gets to Baghdad in an alarmingly swift time. It is here that The Tiger and the Snow becomes quite odd--both visually (beginning with Attilio's solitary entrance into the besieged city) and structurally. Benigni can jump from some classic comedy shtick to a still tableau of serene beauty; he can impress us with the horrors of war, and then mine laughs out of the dangers of a minefield. The juxtapositions can be jolting.

The Tiger and the Snow is a disarming film--especially in its surprise ending--and it's stuffed full of big messages about life, death, sadness, joy and love. As a writer and director, Benigni's off-the-wall originality is striking--but sometimes he goes too far. Take, for instance, the dream sequence that opens the film and is repeated at intervals throughout. In the dream, Atillio (wearing only underwear) weds the elusive Vittoria in the ruins of a church while, next to the altar, the American singer/actor Tom Waits somnolently plays the piano and sings a ditty he wrote specifically for the film, "You Can Never Hold Back Spring." Poignant? No, just strange.

Another problem: As a performer, Benigni cannot pass up any opportunity to milk a laugh or provoke tears or drive a person crazy with his nonstop high-energy patter--and he'll do all these things all at the same time! At times, this viewer was tempted to reach into the screen and box Benigni about the head and shoulders just to make him shut up. That said, The Tiger and the Snow proves once again that the Italian whirligig named Roberto Benigni is a truly multi-talented genius who knows how to make movies with magic in them. So who cares if he gives some of us agita? He also makes us see the world as we've never seen it before.

Critic by Shirley Sealy