Roberto benigni is the most enthusiastic person on the face of the world. I have spent seven years in Italy, and I can tell you, Italians are warm and loving people who know how to enjoy life, truly enjoy it, and Benigni? Well, he is like a small concentrated example of that joy-of-life, that childlike enthusiasm.
In order to understand Benigni you have to watch his Oscar acceptance speech. Well, you don’t even have to watch the speech itself, just the way dear Roberto climbed over chairs to get there, shaking everybody's hands on the way, kissing random women who didn’t manage to escape on time and being oh so Italian in the best meaning of the word.
My duty is to try to reach beauty. Cinema is emotion. When you laugh you cry."
If woody Allen wasn’t neurotic he would have been Benigni. But then again, If woody Allen wasn’t neurotic nobody would know him. Italians, jews, same same. Overbearing moms, talking with the hands, you know. Italians do have better food, I will give them that. Benigni is the healthy version of Woody Allen. The happy version.
They told me it's a very dangerous subject, but when you fall in love something, you must be brave, courageous, and, yes, I was scared, ... But because when you are in love or you are naked, you feel vulnerable.”
"BuonGiorno Principessa!" is one of the most charming written motifs in cinema. It is stronger than "rosebud", it is the opposite of "frankly my dear I don’t give a damn" and is on the same mythical level of "as you wish" from the princess bride (and we do have a princess here too so it works perfectly)
When I first saw a Fellini movie, I came out of the movie theatre and decided to become a lawyer! I thought to myself, it's impossible to make something so beautiful!"
Roberto benigni for me is a classical comedy actor, not too sophisticated, not too ridiculous, just the perfect formula of a nerdy appearance, a naughty personality, and a natural hyperactive charm that oozes off the screen.
"Johnny stechino ( Johnny toothpick)" is my favorite Benigi film, as it Is right up my alley, a classic old school comedy where roberto is mistaken for a famous Mafioso. Not many non-italian-speakers know that film. It's worth to look for it.
I remember in the circus learning that the clown was the prince, the high prince. I always thought that the high prince was the lion or the magician, but the clown is the most important.”
And then there was his life's role in "la vita e bella" which showed exactly the difference between Woody and Roberto, where pure lust for life triumphs even under the worst conditions proving once again why the human race should exist after all. It was a magnificent role and got benigni the world fame he deserved. But it was still a foreign movie, about the holocaust, which won an Oscar. Almost an auto-cliché .
The benigni I adore is not there. His spirit is, but Roberto benigni is at his best when things are less oscarish, when it is his talent that makes the scene, not historic settings and extraordinary production value, it is in the netto, in the essence of comedy where Roberto benigni is at home.
Coffee and cigarette. Yep, that's a perfect example. In the middle of a brilliant movie, sitting with a brilliant comic (steven wright) Benigni still manages to steal the show without even blinking. Well, actually with blinking quite a lot, but that is part of the charm, that secret loveable smile that puts him somewhere between a big eyed small boy and a puppy in the steal-the-show-meter.
Physical, uncontrollable, skinny and very very funny. A comedian. Viva Roberto.