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THE TIGER AND THE SNOW AKA La tigre e la neve


  Publicity Stills of "The Tiger And The Snow"
Courtesy of Shaw

Genre: Comedy/Romance
Director: Roberto Benigni
Starring: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Jean Reno. Tom Waits
RunTime: 1 hr 54 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.letigreetlaneige-lefilm.com/index2.htm

Opening Day: 2 Nov 2006


An Italian poet finds himself love-struck in Iraq at the outset of the American-led invasion.

Movie Review:

Eight years after garnering 3 Academy Awards with the incredibly poignant Life is Beautiful, Roberto Benigni finally scores a hit with The Tiger and the Snow after the much disappointing Pinocchio. Clearly on form, Benigni tackles this film in a manner similar to that of Life is Beautiful and that is where signs of Benigni developing into a master storyteller starts to show.

Having interwoven comedy and tragedy so brilliantly amidst the Holocaust in Life is Beautiful, he tackles the war in Iraq this time around with this outing. He plays Attilio, a poetry teacher who travels to Iraq when he learns from his poet friend, Fuad (Jean Reno) that a fellow poet, Vittoria (Nicoletta Braschi), who he also believes happens to be the love of his life has fallen ill.

The film is divided into two halves with the first revolving around Attilio’s life in Italy as a teacher, father to two beautiful children and part-time stalker of Vittoria’s. The first hour stretches Benigni’s ability to comic when he passionately explains about poetry to his students, his perennial lateness in picking up his two daughters and as the love-stricken admirer in his affection for Vittoria. In the second hour, he attempts to maintain the same form of comedy while having to battle with serious issues like the bombings occurring in Iraq and Vittoria’s declining health.

While his writing and directing vision leaves not much to complain about, the same cannot be said about his acting. It is true that he brings about an indescribable charm to the screen as the leading man despite not being the stereo-typical Italian heartthrob. Afterall, he did garner an Oscar for Best Actor in 1999 beating out the likes of Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen and Edward Norton. However, as he is present throughout the bulk of the film, his style and nuances become a bit too repetitive when one starts to fall in love with Attilio, one also starts to get irritated by him as his antics become a little too over-the-top to digest at times.

However, with just that one little problem one might have to deal with, The Tiger and the Snow is a beautiful film. The film is Benigni’s take on the American led war in Iraq but he is fully aware of not treading on any red tape. In fact, he forms no opinion of any sort with regards to the war, which merely serves as a backdrop to our valiant poet’s love story. In fact, being a film set during a period of war, there is zero warring that is actually seen on screen. Instead, one vivid scene takes place between Atillio and Fuad where they both talk about the beauty of the sky, when, ironically enough, was a series of bombings that was occurring.

The Tiger and the Snow is not as strong and will not be as widely seen as Life is Beautiful. Still, the film is a showcase of Roberto Benigni’s intellect and passion and his ability to weave both tragedy and humour at the unlikeliest of times. Ultimately, what lies at the very core of the film, is the celebration of love.

Movie Rating:

(The Tiger and the Snow is the definition of a love poem that comes alive!)

Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri

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