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Life Is Beautiful [1999] is a very hard act to follow, and Benigni doesn't quite make it in this film. I think part of the reason is that his on and off screen love, Nicoletta Braschi, spends most of the film in a coma, so there's just Roberto going beserk, with no one to act as a foil to his excesses. Yet, second time through it was making me sadder and more sympathetic, and more attuned to the subtleties of the writing.

So this is a tale of 3 poets (yes, poets) and the Iraqi war. Attilio (Benigni) is a mess. He can never remember where he's left his car, keeps on picking up other people's jackets by mistake and is stalking the beautiful Vittoria (Braschi). Every night he dreams of marrying her to the gravelly strains of Tom Waits singing "You Can Never Hold Back Spring". She isn't too keen and tells him they'll only be back together again when hell freezes over- in her words - when she sees a Tiger in the Snow (and she makes it clear it has to happen in Rome). She's more interested in writing a biography of another poet, Fuad (the most understated performance I've seen from Jean Reno). She goes back to Bagdad with Fuad, and promptly gets bumped on the head by the falling debris from a bombed building, and ends up in a coma.

So the war is on. You can't get a civilian flight to Bagdad- Attilio desperately in love, gets to Iraq. You can't drive to Bagdad. He manages it. There aren't any medicines to treat her oedema (there aren't any chemists anymore!), so he finds an alternative cure, and finally some modern medicine. You can never hold back spring! But he's imprisoned in a POW camp just after finding out that Vittoria is recovering so it looks as though she's never going to find out how much he loves her.......

The actual action is filmed in Tunisia and the war scenes are a little low key (Benigni tells us in the accompanying interview that he thought of the love story first and then the Gulf War came upon us.. so he added it in.). However the fear of the GI checkpoints is very real and threatening, even if the bombs, minefields and smoking oil wells are less so. I have to say that although Braschi seems to have a simple role as the comatose one, to actually stay completely still when Benigni is falling off chairs and generally being Benigni is a real tour de force.

The Tiger ain't bad either.
11 comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 March 2014
Dear Amazon
I order this dvd in UK and got it from the US. The problems is that US has other system than we have here in Europe.
It is 1 and I can only use 2.
The film is wonderful, because I have see it in tv but I can not see the dvd i bought.
So this is not ok
Bedst regards
Anja Jepsen
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on 20 November 2014
..bella italiana..
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on 19 February 2015
all as expected
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