Thanks Giving

Thanksgiving is upon us!  The movie “Life is Beautiful” is about an Italian Jewish family that is taken into a Nazi concentration camp during World War 2.  It is not in English, yet it was nominated for 7 Academy Awards in 1998.  At the camp, the father used his fertile imagination to shield his son Joshua from the horrors around them.  He hides his son from the Nazi guards.  He sneaks him food and tries to humor him.  The father does everything in his power to hide their true situation from Joshua.  In doing so, the dad convinces Joshua that the camp is a game in which the first person to get 1,000 points wins a tank.  He tells him that if he cries, he loses points.  If he complains, he loses points.  If whines because he wants his mom, or because he’s hungry, he loses points.  Quiet boys, he tells him, who hide from the camp guards earn points.  First one to 1,000 wins.  Under the most tragic circumstances, the dad brings joy into his sons life by turning their awful circumstances into a game.  The dad, Guido, was played by the Italian actor and director Roberto Benigni (Robeartoe Boneeni).  Hollywood and the rest of the film world loved the film and they loved Roberto Benigni. When Benigni received the Best Actor Award, beating Tom Hanks for Saving Private Ryan. The first for a male performer ever given by the Academy for a non-English-speaking role, Benigni, in a burst of joy danced over the tops of chairs and leaped up on stage. He then proceeded to squeeze actress Sophia Loren who presented him his award so tightly that he nearly crushed her.  Then Benigni said he wanted to “kiss everybody and die in this ocean of generosity.” At the following year’s ceremony, when Benigni read the nominees for Best Actress, host Billy Crystal playfully appeared behind Benigni with a large net as if to restrain him if he got excessive with his antics again. Explaining his behavior, Benigni said this: “It’s a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.”

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