#MondayFun – Filmmaker Roberto Benigni

Painting of Johnny Stecchino by Borbay
Painting of Johnny Stecchino by Borbay

What It Is

This week marks the last film in the Roberto Benigni & Nicoletta Braschi retrospective at the Italian Contemporary Film Festival here in Toronto. I try to watch the occasional Italian film just to keep up with my Italian language skills, however I tend to watch the movies at home. Yet I may make an exception this time around. Tomorrow night they’re showing Johnny Stecchino, which is my favourite Roberto Benigni film.

Why I Like It

Johnny Stecchino was my introduction to the whirlwind that is Roberto Benigni. You probably remember him best for his crazy Oscar acceptance speech for Life is Beautiful (“La Vita è Bella”), or rather, for his journey to the stage for his Oscar. Here’s a reminder just in case you’ve forgotten:

One of the reasons that Roberto has such success with his movies worldwide is that he infuses them with a sincerity and heart that transcends the subject matter. Whether he’s talking about a serial killer in Florence (“Il Mostro“), a case of mistaken identity with a mobster (“Johnny Stecchino”) or Jewish internment (“La Vita è Bella“), there’s always heart.

But it’s in his pure comedies that Roberto really shines. Mixing great comedic timing with hilarious jokes and well-executed pratfalls, Roberto has something for everyone. If you don’t believe me, check out the trailer for “Johnny Stecchino”:

Just hilarious. So go enjoy some laughs today courtesy of Roberto. He’s hilarious in any language.