"Watching a film on a cellular phone is a contradiction that borders on blasphemy," said the actor-director at a film conference in Rome. "The beauty of cinema is watching it on the screen. On a cellular phone you only get a small taste."
Gerald Peary in the Boston Phoenix:
"Life Is Beautiful" offers a feel-good Final Solution, a smiley-face Holocaust…See Begnini’s film for yourself. Could be you’ll admire it, whatever your religion. But this Jew-boy journalist holds out, considering that Jerusalem [Film Fest] award a blasphemy, and the Holocaust misrepresentations of "Life Is Beautiful" unforgivably obscene.
Charles Taylor at Salon:
Roberto Benigni’s comic fable about one family’s struggle to survive in a Nazi concentration camp is in offensively poor taste.
Owen Gleiberman at Entertainment Weekly:
The first feel-good Holocaust weepie. Directed and cowritten by its star, Roberto Benigni, it has the audacity — or is it insensitivity? — to place its lovable clownish hero in a death camp that looks like something out of a ’50s musical. You’ll laugh! You’ll cry! You’ll smile through the evils of genocide!
David Edelstein at Slate:
Benigni’s movie made me want to throw up.
Ah, fun with pullquotes. By the way, Benigni’s take on the Iraq war, "The Tiger and the Snow," is currently out in theaters in Italy.
+ Italy biz riled by movie’s phone premiere (Reuters)
+ Roberto Benigni’s ‘beautiful’ Holocaust (Boston Phoenix)
+ Life Is Beautiful (Salon)
+ Life Is Beautiful (Entertainment Weekly)
+ White and Dark (Slate)