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“La Vie est belle”, a moving fable by Roberto Benigni, is broadcast tonight on France 5. But do you know where the film’s title comes from?

Broadcast this evening on France 5, La Vie est belle (in the original version, “La vita e bella”) tells us the tragic story of Guido, a young Jewish father, and his little boy Giosue, both deported to the death camps during World War II.

Winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, moving, overwhelming, overflowing with life despite its subject, Roberto Benigni’s feature film displays a surprising title at first glance, but one that we quickly attribute to optimism without flaws in its main character.

Determined to hide the horror of the Holocaust from the innocent eyes of his son, Guido protects him by telling him stories, by inventing games for him, by trying at all costs to convince him that “life is good”.

However, as Roberto Benigni clarified when his film was released to Canadian media, this title has a more specific inspiration. It actually refers – not to Frank Capra’s famous film La Vie est Belle, as one might first have imagined – but to Leon Trotsky’s will.

Exiled in Mexico at the end of his life, seeing his health decline and his existence threatened by his political enemies, this Russian revolutionary, opposing the Stalin regime (who was finally assassinated in 1940), concludes his text with the following sentences :

“Natasha just got to the window through the courtyard and opened it wide so that the air could enter my room more freely. I can see the line of shiny green grass under the wall, and in the – beyond the immaculate blue sky, and everywhere the sunlight. Life is beautiful. May future generations cleanse it from all evil, from all oppression, from all violence, and enjoy it to the full. “

Albert Dupontel

Virginie Efira, Albert Dupontel

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Related title :
La Vie est belle : what does the title of the film refer to?