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There's not a lot in The Tiger and the Snow that we have not seen before from lead actor Roberto Benigni. Once more Benigni is paired with his real-life wife, Nicoletta Braschi. Once more, Benigni is paired with the venerable Tom Waits (previously united in Down by Law). Once more, Benigni plays a slightly buffo character who overcomes incredulous obstacles to become the semi-lovable/inspiring/wacky hero of a desperate situation. Switch out a concentration camp for Baghdad and you have a plot that harkens back to La Vita e' Bella (Life Is Beautiful)--the film that thrust Benigni into the international spotlight, and a chair-vaulting Oscar appearance in 1999. This time he plays Roman poet Attilio, who sneaks into war-torn Baghdad in the hopes of resuscitating his theretofore-unrequited love interest, Vittoria (Braschi), who has been injured in a bombing. While Benigni's over-the-top slapstick persona is more palatable in the Italian comedy classics Johnny Stecchino and Il Mostro, there are some genuinely touching moments between him and Braschi in the film, including the surreal opening scene where Waits makes his appearance. Jean Reno (The Da Vinci Code) puts in a solid performance as Fuad, an Iraqi-born poet, while Abdelhafid Metalsi delivers a stiff-as-a-board performance as Dottore Salman.

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HSP674035 Tiger and the Snow DVD (2008/Roberto Benigni) $39.99