Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Tiger and the Snow

About a month ago, near the end of December, I rented a wonderful film called "La Tigre e La Neve" (The Tiger and the Snow). I'd never heard of it, but it's directed by that amazing Italian wizard, Roberto Benigni. I love this guy. He is SO full of life and so passionate about everything he does, as is his wife, Nicoletta Braschi, who has the face of an angel and usually plays his love interest in his films. They are such a dynamic duo! I remember beaming, giggling and even standing up in my living room applauding with excitement the year he won Best Actor at the Academy Awards and nearly stepped on Steven Spielberg's head in his exuberance to accept the highly deserved prize. Such an inspiration! Every pore of his being is drenched in the oxygen of living life to its fullest.

One of the best scenes (or, rather, several of them) in the film is a recurring dream the main character, Attilio (played by Benigni), keeps having in which he is about to marry Vittoria (played by, of course, Braschi), literally the woman of his dreams, in his underwear. He keeps arriving late, in boxers, and enters this beautiful courtyard setting where his wedding is taking place. The music starts, he stumbles forward, half naked, and every seated guest turns to follow him up the aisle towards his bride-to-be.


Benigni adds such a magical touch to all his films, a Chaplin-esque quality, even when they deal with such serious content as the holocaust in his masterpiece, La vita è bella (Life is Beautiful), or the Iraq war, as this film does. This actor/director never fails to surprise and engage his audience. Even amidst his comic genius, he doesn't pull punches about the sorrows in Life. But he does like to emphasize its JOY. He is a true poet of life, in my opinion. The Tiger and the Snow unveils what lengths a person will go to for someone he loves. No obstacle, no distance, no boundaries, no war is too great to overcome in the name of love. This film makes your heart sing. It did so for mine, anyhow.

Two of my all-time favourite performers are in this film: Jean Reno plays a beautifully understated cameo role as Attilio's long-time friend in the film; and the best part of the recurring dream sequences is listening to the most exquisite song for the wedding march up the aisle each time the dream occurs. The wedding band is led by Tom Waits and his song gives me shivers every time I hear it.

So tonight, because it's Groundhog Day (which was also a wonderful film about living through a recurring day, over and over until it's lived right) and because the end of Winter is nearing, I want to dedicate the song Tom wrote and recorded for this enchanting film to shadows. To Déjà vu. To signs. Like snow. And tigers. To believing.
Music: You Can Never Hold Back Spring, Tom Waits

14 comments:

Eternally Distracted said...

What a beautiful post... great song too :0)

Iddy Albatross said...

Haven't seen many films by Roberto Benigni, except Life is Beautiful. Seen a few films where he's acted, and I think he's wonderful. Now, I'll have to see all those films you've recommended. Thanks :)

Ciara said...

Gorgeous post, Nancy!! Your own joy and hope comes bouncing off the screen here too!

And thank you for the recommendation, can't wait to check it out! I love Benigni, and I LOVE Jean Reno. :-)

And speaking of lovely foreign-language films, have you seen the film 'Priceless' with the gorgeous Audrey Tatou? I highly recommend it in return. It's nothing deep or meaningful, but it is sweet and again, all about the persistence of true love.

Mon said...

I'm a Begnini fan too, even recently posted about La Vita e Bella.

Must hunt this one down. Thanks for sharing it.

<a hef="http://bohemianshadows.blogspot.com/>Bohemian Shadows</a>

Brian Miller said...

great song. thanks for the tip on the movie...will definitely check it out...

Titanium said...

Will definitely have to add that one to my Netflix queue. Thanks, as always, for these moments that brighten the day.

the b in subtle said...

Thanks everyone! nice to meet you, Eternally. Hey Iddy! Nice to see you commenting here and on my other blog, thanks for stepping over! Ciara - I love Audrey Tautau - why have i not heard of Priceless? I will have to check it out! Mon - I'll have to check out your post about Benigni. Bri and Ti, always so nice to have your lovely, encouraging comments. Thanks again! It's my nephew's 8th birthday today so I have to run. Can't BELIEVE he is EIGHT already -where have the years flown to?

Ellen said...

I have that in my Netflix queue and now I want to put it at the top. Thanks for the post...I think Roberto Benigni is the cutest little man....I mean after Life is Beautiful who could not love him?

Cabo said...

Who wouldn't want to be married in their underwear? As long as whomever said "I Do" back didn't care so much for clothing. :^D I'll have to check out that movie!

TW is awesome, I concur on astronomical levels.

Cam said...

Will be checking these out...
Thank you for the inspiration!

By the way, favorite part of Groundhog Day?

"Don't drive angry."

(Bill Murray to the Groundhog)

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Excellent review and what a great looking cover too.

I also wanted to thank you immensely for the heartwarming comment you left on my blog post today (4/2). We seem to have something in common. Thank you for telling me your story too, and what a wonderful feeling it is to be happy.

Best wishes, CJ xx

Land of shimp said...

Hello there, good review, by the way, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Well, I'm here to tell you that -- as is the custom with this particular award -- I've tagged you with a Kreativ Blogger Award. There's a whole process involved in it, really. The first time someone gave me one, I didn't realize I was meant to do anything with it.

Please know that I won't be hurt if you don't do anything with it yourself, but I did want to let you know about it, in case you think it might be fun.

the b in subtle said...

Wow. Alane! that is the first blogging award i've ever received! i feel so very special. THANK YOU. wow. of course i'd love to do something with it. will likely hope to have more time late tonight (or if i'm too tired tonight at some point by the weekend). you made my day! how very sweet! :) {nancy}

the b in subtle said...

oh also - Ellen - so true. his short stature is inproportionate to his immense talent...

Michael - yes. makes things easier for the honeymoon, really. you're ready and raring to go. quite like wearing a kilt at a wedding ceremony. if worn traditionally, of course. ;) TW is one of my all-time favourites. i saw him live in 1999 in Toronto. best concert i've ever seen in my life. period.

HA Cam - it was a great film. i haven't seen it in years, but should rent it again. and again. and again ;)

CJ- your post really touched me. yep there are some similarities for sure. neat the connections we find with absolute strangers, hey? glad you chose Happiness. Amy certainly is the product of that choice in so many ways.