Roberto Benigni

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Roberto Benigni Trivia

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  • Trivia

    • His zodiac sign is Scorpio.

    • Benigni is an outspoken critic of media tycoon Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

    • On October 15, 2005, he performed an impromptu strip tease on Italy's most watched evening news program, removing his shirt and draping it over the newscaster's shoulders. Prior to removing his shirt, Benigni had already hijacked the opening credits of the news program, jumping behind the newscaster and announcing: "Berlusconi has resigned". The previous day, he led a crowd of thousands in Rome on Friday in protest at the center-right government's decision to cut state arts funding by 35 percent.

    • He is also a singer-songwriter. Among his performances recorded are ironic versions of Paolo Conte's songs.

    • Benigni is a well-appreciated improvisatory poet (Poesia estemporanea is a form of art popularly followed and practiced in Tuscany), and is appreciated for his recitations of Dante Alighieri's Divina Commedia by memory.

    • In just about every film Roberto has directed, his wife plays the leading female role and he plays the lead male role.

    • Married to Nicoletta Braschi.

    • His Oscar for Best Actor marked the second time that an actor had directed himself in an Academy Award winning performance (The other one was Laurence Olivier for Hamlet in 1948).

    • His movie masterpiece La Vita È Bella (Life is Beautiful) has earned him over thirty international movie awards, including three Oscars.

  • Quotes

    • Roberto: Charlie Chaplin used his ass better than any other actor. In all of his films his ass is practically the protagonist. For a comic, the ass has incredible importance.

    • Benigni: (Culture confers dreams) and you don't touch dreams... Now they've cut our dreams.

    • Benigni: (About La Vita È Bella) The first part of the story is very funny and very full of gags ... then the second part is not a comedy (and) is exactly a real tragedy. This, to me, was wonderful, the balance.

    • Benigni: (After winning the Academy Award) I am overjoyed and extremely grateful to receive this extraordinary honor. These awards fill my heart with happiness, knowing that people throughout Europe have been touched by our film.

    • Benigni: (About La Vita È Bella) It's a real love story in an extreme situation, ... I was afraid of only one thing. I was afraid to offend the memory of survivors on Jewish people, which I respect so much.

    • Benigni: The soldiers are seen as a "presence". There are no judgments made, for sure.

    • Benigni: Kubrick is like someone like Fellini, like Kafka, like someone who really dreamt for us and gave to us the key to understand something and the pleasure to tell the story.

    • Benigni: This is a terrible mistake because I used up all my English!

    • Benigni: Thank you! This is a moment of joy and I want to kiss everybody, the makers of the joy.

    • Benigni: For me, Fellini was like a watermelon. It is there. A watermelon cannot die.

    • Benigni: In Italy, the country where fascism was born, we have a particular relation with the Holocaust, but as a turning point in history it belongs to everybody in the world. It is a part of humanity.

    • Benigni: Fellini belongs to nature.

    • Benigni: My duty is to try to reach beauty. Cinema is emotion. When you laugh you cry.

    • Benigni: My mother brought me magicians and witches, because I was very ugly, really revolting. So she thought somebody had put a spell on me, this is the truth, so she made me drink some horrible terrifying potions, for year.

    • Benigni: I remember in the circus learning that the clown was the prince, the high prince. I always thought that the high prince was the lion or the magician, but the clown is the most important.

    • Benigni: My father was a farmer and my mother was a farmer, but, my childhood was very good. I am very grateful for my childhood, because it was full of gladness and good humanity.

    • Benigni: There is nothing has brought them to the world like cinema has... I'm grateful to the United States for the art of cinema.

    • Benigni: To cut dreams is difficult, but they have managed to do it.

    • Benigni: If you make a direct argument against the war, it bounces back at you... While certain modern works on (wars) go to the head or are powerful as documentaries, this I think goes to the heart... And that is more dangerous, stronger.

    • Benigni: This is an homage to the master, because I love this movie, and, of course, making a movie... a comedy about concentration camp, I watched this movie a lot of time.

    • Benigni: I would like to tell that I was really loved, with the simplicity... What is more simple than to tell to a little boy, "This is not the truth, it is a game?"

    • Benigni: We live with this horror and are surrounded by this horror.

    • Benigni: They told me it's a very dangerous subject, but when you fall in love something, you must be brave, courageous, and, yes, I was scared... But because when you are in love or you are naked, you feel vulnerable.

    • Benigni: It's a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.

    • Benigni: When I first saw a Fellini movie, I came out of the movie theatre and decided to become a lawyer! I thought to myself, it's impossible to make something so beautiful!