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The Tiger and the Snow: Movie Analysis

By metsfan51190 Jan 30, 2012 2399 Words
In society today movies are just something people watch for enjoyment but they never take a second and look at the real message behind the movie. Each movie has a different message and anyone can find it. If you fully analyze a film you can learn so much and see how much went in to making the film from the filming to the color and lighting and most importantly editing. As we move into the future and the technology advances I hope that people will look at movies as more than just something to do on a Saturday night and turn it into a learning experience that will last forever. In the filmmaking world there is always that someone that gets looked over and forgotten and that is the person behind the film known as the director. Directors are brilliant people who jobs are to create a film that people will enjoy while putting a meaning behind it. Roberto Benigni is an amazing director who not only directs his movies but writes and stars in them as well. Benigni has created masterpieces such as Life is Beautiful, Pinocchio and his most recent film The Tiger and the Snow, which have brought him such awards as an Oscar for Life is beautiful. Along with being a director Benigni prides himself on being a family man which is why his wife Nicoletta Braschi plays his love interest in most of his movies. Overall Benigni is a great director who blends comedy and romance in most of his movies. His movies might be a little out there but that’s just who Roberto Benigni is and I can’t wait to see his next film. “The Tiger and The Snow” was produced in 2005, written, directed, and starred in by Roberto Benigini; it was also co-written by Vincenzo Cerami. “The Tiger and The Snow” is a movie that focuses its themes on love, and war. This film had 3 awards won and 4 nominations. It won an award for best foreign romance trailer, best original story, and music. It was nominated for best actor, sound, music, and visual effects. In this paper you will learn about the Story, elements, theme, values and what critics think about “The Tiger and The Snow.” This paper will tell you the story of Attilio and how he proves that love is far greater then war, and it will show you how much help that countries like Iraq need and the lack of help that they are getting from our military’s aid and how innocent people are hurt during this war. The film is set in Rome with the main character Attilio de Giovanni played by Roberto Benigni, a comical but talented literature professor and the divorced father of two teenage girls, is hopelessly in love with Vittoria played by Nicoletta Braschi, Benigni's wife in real life, a writer who is the subject of a recurring dream, featuring a surreal wedding ceremony with poetry verses in the background. Attilio's strenuous courtship is unsuccessful, yet he does not lose hope, despite the fact that Vittoria obviously does not share the same feelings. Vittoria leaves to go to Iraq to write the biography of the poet Fuad, a close friend of Attilio who is returning to his country after 18 years in exile in France. Vittoria is wounded during the Iraq War and Attilio manages to reach Baghdad with the intention of saving her life. He finds Vittoria in an Iraqi hospital lying in a coma; like thousands of Iraqis, she is in danger of dying from lack of medicine. Fuad directs Attilio to an old Iraqi pharmacist, who suggests ancient treatments that keep her alive. Attilio locates scuba gear to provide oxygen and even "a weapon of mass destruction" a flyswatter. Attilio then runs the risk of going to the Italian Red Cross HQ in Iraq, obtains medical supplies by posing as a doctor, and then brings medicines back to Baghdad. The medical supplies enable Vittoria to make a complete recovery, but when Attilio goes to Fuad's house to tell him about this triumph over adversity, he finds that Fuad has hanged himself. Fuad had earlier had a short soliloquy on how "his eyes no longer...", but Attilio had not picked up on because he was frantically trying to make the glycerine mixture to save Vittoria. Just before Vittoria emerges from her coma, Attilio is captured by the U.S. Military and is mistaken for an Iraqi insurgent. In the final scenes it is revealed that Vittoria is Attilio's wife. They are obviously separated in this story, perhaps because of his tumultuous over-abundant energy and insane diversions, (along with earlier transgressions with another woman). Several times we see Attilio in awkward visits to Vittoria and their children, and obviously he is still hopelessly in love. He proves this in the most extreme way- finding her and somehow managing to save her life in war-torn Iraq. In the final scene of the film, even though Attilio won't admit that he is the "wonderful stranger who saved her", Vittoria suddenly recognizes his familiar way of brushing her cheek in the same manner that "the stranger" had touched her when she was lying unconscious in the hospital, and the way her necklace that he took from her in Iraq, for safekeeping is dangling from his neck touches her face. Love and injury in time of war. Attilio de Giovanni teaches poetry in Italy. He has a romantic soul, and women love him. But he is in love with Vittoria, and the love is unrequited. Every night he dreams of marrying her, in his boxer shorts and t-shirt, as Tom Waits sings. Vittoria travels to Iraq with her friend, Fuad, a poet; they are there with the second Gulf War breaks out. Vittoria is injured. Attilio must get to her side, and then, as war rages around him, he must find her the medical care she needs. In war, does love conquer all? I believe so. When you look at this film from a technical aspect it is a very modern film. Like with most Benigni films there was a plethora of shots but a good amount of high angle and close ups between Attilio and Vittoria to emphasize their love for each other even if they didn’t show it sometimes. The colors was a major part of the film like in Life is beautiful the colors were bright in the beginning of the film symbolizing the happiness of Attilio then once he found out that Vittoria was badly hurt the colors became dark and gloomy then by the end of the movie the colors became bright again with flowers and sunshine once Vittoria returned home and could be a happy family with Attilio and their kids. Throughout the film most of the lighting came from natural lighting but there are parts with artificial lighting such as the part when they are in the hospital in Iraq. The natural lighting helps emphasize certain parts of the film such as the happiness in the garden at the end of the film. The editing of this film is done very well in that it the movie starts at Attilo’s wife’s house but the director makes you think the women with his children is his wife but by the end of the movie you end up back at the exact place and come to find out that Vittoria is his real wife and the mother of his children. The director was able to do this through good editing and cutting throughout the film. It is very easy to just take a camera and shot for hours but it is the editing, cutting and other technical aspects that make a movie an award winner. When you step back and look into the world of filmmaking there are many different things that are used to separate one movie from another. Ideology is usually defined as a body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture. The term is generally associated with politics and party platforms, but it can also mean a given set of values that are implicit in any human enterprise including filmmaking. In ideology movies are classified into three broad categories neutral, implicit and explicit. I feel that “The Tiger and The Snow” falls under the category of an implicit film because we must infer what both characters stand for and we must decide ourselves what the moral of the story is because the film ends with us guessing what will happen next. Inside the realm of ideology films are broken down even further into either a leftist or rightest movie through the use of the Left-Center-Right Model. Leftist movies are more democratic movies that emphasize the similarities of people while rightest are more hierarchical and emphasize the differences among people. I feel most of Benigni’s films are more on the leftist side of the spectrum because he always tries to think positive and look to the future rather than dwell on the past for example at the end of the film Attilio and Vittoria begin to talk about an affair Attilio had with his coworker Nancy but then decide not to talk about it because they want to move on to a bright future. Also Benigni can be seen as more of an outsider over an insider because he is just a plain middle class man with no power. An example of him being an outsider is in the movie when he is bringing the medical supplies back to the hospital in Iraq and he is stopped by the Americans who at first believe he is wearing a bomb which show that they believe he is an outsider and treat him poorly. Since the beginning movies began to develop in two major directions the realistic and the formalistic. There is a big difference between realism and formalism, realism is a style whereas physical reality is the source of all material for the film. While formalist movies are more flamboyant with directors concerned with expressing their subjective experience of reality, not how other people might see it. The movie “The Tiger and The Snow” I feel is a realist movie with formalist scene’s on a side story. Most of the movie is just like real life with a man chasing after a woman and will do anything to get their approval. There are certain parts such as Attilio’s dreams where they are in this chapel like setting and Vittoria who starts of being a bride in one dream then turns into a kangaroo in another dream. This scene while funny could never happen and is therefore a formalist aspect of this realist movie. Most directors like to throw curveballs at its audience by providing injections of magical realism into their films in order to aid their audience in understanding worlds which will likely be foreign to them. They do so by blending magical elements with the real world to convey different things that could never normally occur. In “The Tiger and The Snow” Benigni utilized magical realism to prove a point that anything could happen. He did this in a scene when Vittoria was trying to avoid Attilio and it suddenly starts to snow but the snow looks fake like a pollen like material then she comes face to face with a tiger that had gotten lose from the local zoo due to a fire. The way the scene was shot gave it a magical feel and this made Vittoria remember from earlier in the film when Attilio wrote a book called the tiger and the snow, and when Vittoria was at his house Attilio told her that they should be together forever, she said to him that they would be together when she saw a tiger under the snow in Rome. Her seeing the tiger in the snow symbolized that they are meant to be together forever. Most movies in the world today have an historical or political background behind them. The movies are used to show people what really is happening in the world while making an award winning film. The film was shot in Iraq at the beginning of the second gulf war where the Unites States and British forces began to liberate Iraq. Throughout the film you see the chaos that this is causing for the citizens of Iraq and let to numerous looters. A good example of this is when the looter came into the hospital and tried to steal Vittoria’s jewelry but was stopped by Attilio. Benigni maybe uses the war in Iraq as a contemporary one that we can all relate to, since it is still going on and it makes it "closer" to us all, instead of placing the event somewhere further in the past or future. This is a technique that enforces the intimacy of the story. The focus of the movie is the power that love has in us and to the lengths it will take us to protect those who are most important to us. A movie critic named Deborah Young said that “The Tiger and the Snow” “lacks a powerful hook” when she reviewed this movie. I disagree with Deborah Young. This movie has great power behind it; it is a protest to war and a plea for help of those in war stricken countries. This movie makes viewers aware of the pains of war and at the same time keeps the viewers entertained with a great story of love being stronger then war. In conclusion “The Tiger and The Snow” is a great Italian film and is a must see. This movie shows that love is far greater then war, and it also shows you how much help that countries like Iraq need and the lack of help that they are getting from our military’s aid and how innocent people are hurt during this war.

Works Cited

Young, D. (2005, October 12). Variety Reviews - The Tiger and the Snow - Film Reviews - New Int'l. Release - Review by Deborah Young. Entertainment news, film reviews, awards, film festivals, box office, entertainment industry conferences - Variety. Retrieved December 13, 2011, from http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117928500?refcatid=31

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