Italian comedian Roberto Benigni's World War II-era farce (released in the US both in Italian with subtitles and dubbed into English) is a tough proposition: Half the action is set in a concentration camp, and its tragicomic
inventions are sometimes forced. The first half is standard Benigni burlesque, complete with witty visual gags and rapid-fire repartee: Puerile but good-hearted Guido Orefice (Benigni), an Italian Jew, relocates to Arezzo in 1939 and gets a job through his uncle Eliseo (Giustino Durano), a head
waiter at a fancy hotel, while dreaming of opening a bookshop. While applying for a permit, he has a disastrous encounter with officious local Fascist R...