Like "Life is Beautiful," Roberto Benigni's new work is a comedy set against a tragic backdrop: while the Oscar-winning movie tackled the Holocaust, "La Tigre e La Neve" ("The Tiger and the Snow") deals with the war in Iraq.
The movie is an anti-war statement in Benigni's preferred style _ a love story driven by the actor-director's exuberant and sometimes slapstick humor.
"I'm aiming to distract, to move people, this is the only thing one can do. It's not that art or movies can save the world ... but they can comfort us." Benigni plays an Italian poet who travels to Iraq to save the love of his life, just as the American-led war is beginning.
Played by Benigni's wife and frequent co-star Nicoletta Braschi, the woman has been injured in one of the aerial bombardments of Baghdad. The Iraq scenes, which depict air raids, bombings, looting, and street fighting _ but without too much blood _ were shot in Tunisia, according to the AP.
The film, which cost Ђ30 million ($35.81 million), will be released in Italy on Oct. 14.
Benigni said the movie was not ideological, and did not seek to make any judgment about American soldiers featured in the movie, and who he described as "unemployed armed people." AM