Life is Beautiful is an Italian film, set during the Holocaust. The main characters are, the Doctor, Guido, Dora, and their son, Giosue. Guido is a complex individual; he had a certain aurora about himself. His character isn’t the type of person who is intellectually inclined; even so he was just that. Guido protects his family, fights for their freedom , as he endures betrayal all while learning about the cruel people in this world. Guido falls in love with a woman name Dora. She is from the upper class and he refers to her as his princess.
She is not a Jewish therefore she is privileged to more things than her admirer. Dora and Guido fall in love and have a beautiful son named Giosue. One morning as Dora left to go pick up Giosue’s grandmother the Nazi soldiers came and took Guido and his son away. They were being sent to a concentration camp. She went to the train station and demanded that she board the train along with her family. The theme of love and family values is constantly referred to in this film. In different parts of the film Guido does things that could potentially get him killed just to show his love for his son and his wife.
For instance, while Guido was serving the Nazi soldiers he changed the record on the record player to him and Dora’s song, so that she could hear it and feel comforted and loved. Guido had an immense heart and was the definition of selflessness. During this time period the word freedom seemed nonexistent. Jews who at one point owned homes, businesses, property, etc. now had nothing. The Nazi came in and took everything from them. Jews were blamed for any and every problem that occurred in society. If the crops were dying then it was somehow the Jews fault. If inflation was high it was the Jews fault.
Hitler had implanted the idea that Jews were the reason for all chaos in society. Unfair you might say; what about their rights and their freedom. Well according to Hitler they had no freedom. Concentration camps were set up all over Europe. Jews were taken and put in these death camps to work harsh labor hours, doing dangerous jobs with no pay and little food. The Nazi killed off all children and old people who entered these camps, for the simple fact that they could not work and produce the war materials that the soldiers needed. The inhumane conditions and actions of the Nazi soldiers killed thousands of Jews.
The Jews were on the brink of extinction from this unjustified genocide. The doctor in this film, played an important role in the development of Guido as a person. Guido considered the doctor to be personal friend that he had on the inside. The doctor however did not see their relationship as such. To him it was more of a cat and mouse game. The doctor toyed and played on Guido’s emotions and his desperate plight for a way out of the camp. Guido and the doctors relationship began when the doctor came to Guido in a resturant he worked in, about solving a riddle that was sent to him from a friend.
Guido would solve the doctors riddles out of the kindness of his heart. When Guido was between a rock in a hard place and needed a favor from the doctor, the doctor insensitively ignored his request. When the doctor portrayed his true colors, Guido was surprised, but was hurt overall. Guido had fabricated the idea in his mind that the Doctor was his friend and would help him and his family escape the concentration camp. At this point in the movie Guido realizes that he is on his own. He must fight for his freedom and that of his family.
Many families experienced the underlying theme in this film of loneliness during the Holocaust. Parents were separated from their children and families torn completely apart, never to be rebuilt. In reality, these themes play a role in our daily lives. Every single person has a personal vendetta or agenda that they want to accomplish. People will do whatever it takes to reach their goals. The world does not give out handouts. Everything that anyone accomplishes in life is going to take hard work and dedication. We have to stand up like Guido did and fight for what we know is right.
Guido turned his pain and fear into motivation and persevered through each day in the camp; he kept a positive outlook on life at all times. It was Guido’s ultimate sacrifice of his life that made him the real hero in this film. Sometimes we all have to learn things the hard way. Yes it may hurt, but we have to learn how not to wallow in that hurt. We must learn how to be like Guido and turn our circumstances and pain into our motivation to make a difference and bring about change. When I think of Guido’s character I refer back to the story in the bible of David and Goliath.
Guido symbolizes David; mentally and emotionally strong. Goliath was the Nazi army and Hitler, physically strong but could not stand against the power of its enemy. Life is a lesson that we go through every day. Instead of just going through the motions, be the person who challenges the status quo and bring about change for all. When I think of Guido and his family in the film, Life is Beautiful, immediately the word that comes to mind is courage. Courage is what sparks change in life. What change will you bring about in your lifetime?