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La Vita e Bella (Life Is Beautiful): Collector's Edition

Putrid fantasia from Italian sap Robert Benigni about a Jewish waiter in WWII Italy who hides his son from the Nazis, convincing the boy that life in the concentration camp is a fun game. This much beloved film is total crap, and on numerous levels. Its technical amateurity is overshadowed by Benigni's incompetence as performer, writer and director. It's also deeply offensive, primarily for its rampant stupidity. Benigni wants to have it both ways -- he needs the drastic backdrop of the Holocaust to elicit the strong emotions associated therewith, but, in danger of trivializing his dopey physical comedy, must powder over the wrenching reality of the situation. The good moments are sparse, and sadly ironic -- the best jokes aim to deflate fascism, while Benigni's film is itself a culprit of the most overbearing emotional fascism since Beaches. Maudlin schmaltz of the lowest order. In 1.85:1 widescreen and both Italian and English 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks. Furthermore, this disc's status as a "Collector's Edition" is questionable: besides being crap, it includes only trailers and a featurette.

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