When a symbol is displayed people react to it according to how they have seen that symbol before. This is explained with Saussure’s ‘theory of the sign’ where the sign/ symbol has a portrayed meaning that is conveyed and carried with it. Through the use of Signifier and Signified people constantly (without noticing) see signs and relate to them without actually paying too much attention to the message that sign has to give. If the sign does not have an item/symbol within it that goes against their own unconscious knowledge of that sign therefore they will not notice it. Roberto Benigni uses Saussure’s theory of the sign to convey Guido’s sudden realisation that taking a ‘shower’ ultimately means ‘death’ he comes to this conclusion through noticing that only the children and the old are being sent to the ‘showers’ and not the fit, because they are not fit to work they are being send to the showers to be removed as a problem. Through the subtle use of Saussure’s theory of the sign the main character Guido is seen as saving his son from the harshness of the concentration camp for the first time during the movie.
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Through the use of ideal / fantasy worlds one can escape the harsh reality of the world.Guido creates fictitious worlds. He calls Dora “princess” and claims to be a prince himself. Though they both know the truth, they both are more than willing to entertain the fantasy and play the game. In this way, Guido’s fictions are a form of escapism, a way for him to cope with reality and imbue it with beauty. Guido also cultivates a series of coincidences so that he can appear to have manipulated fate or performed magic. Though he knows that he is simply manipulating someone else, he is not reveling in the deception; he is interested in creating another world for someone else. This underscores the idea that a person’s perception is intrinsic to his reality. Guido changes the way those around him perceive the world with his manipulations, and thus he affects how they deal with the rest of the world. When Guido rides up on a horse to rescue Dora, he is entertaining the fantasy of the knight rescuing the damsel in distress. However, he actually is rescuing her from her surroundings and actually is whisking her away on a horse. Similarly, when he tells Giosue that everything in the concentration camp is a game, he is creating a fiction to keep Giosue’s spirits up. However, at the end of the film, Giosue has survived the concentration camp with perseverance and bravery, and his life and the lessons he has learned are very real. In Life is Beautiful, it appears, fantasy can become reality. Through the use of fantasy the harsh world is forgotten and replaced with a ideal reality. Roberto uses fantasy to overcome reality and thus through this semiotic way Guido can save his son from the truth.
Changing of the truth can make the direst moments into fun games. During the moments
The movie life is beautiful is directed by Roberto Benigni and is based in two main parts, before the holocaust and during it. Guido realises taking a shower is a term for ‘Gassing’ people; he decides to keep his son with him. Guido tells Joshua that the entire point of being dressed they way they are, and to hide from the guards is so that they could win a tank if he is the last one found. Guido makes out the entire experience to be a game by doing funny actions to make his son feel like this is a game instead of a concentration camp , he does this up into his own bitter end.
Roberto Benigni uses the film Life Is Beautiful to show how the use of semiotics can make Guido’s humorous actions during the holocaust unique in saving his son from the harshness of the holocaust. Through the use of semiotics the title of the film can be seen through the son’s eyes.
By the time life is beautiful was filmed many young people were too far from World War II to completely appreciate the horrors of the war and the beauty of survival
Signifier 1 this is where Guido makes up the tank game. The signifier is claiming to understand German. This is signified by Guido raising his hand. By Guido doing this he protects his son from the harshness of the holocaust by making up a set of rules for the competition to win a tank. Roberto uses the simple hand raising to signify that even though he does not understand nor speak German he will pretend to in order cover the truth from his son. Again Stuart halls encoding and decoding theory is shown here as the audience knows that this is what Guido is doing even without Guido having to say it.
This is Guido’s death scene. In this scene Roberto displays that Guido will do anything to save his son from the harshness of the holocaust, Guido is caught looking for his wife Dora and is being marched to his death , previously he hid Joshua in a metal mail box so he would be safe. Through Stuart hall’s encoding and decoding theory the viewer sees this as saving his son from the harshness of the holocaust instead of just being funny for Joshua. Roberto uses winking between Joshua and Guido as a link to the imaginary game they are playing this creates a sense that he is safe and is only knocked out of the game.
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While marching past his son he acting as a marching toy soldier. The signifier is Guido marching like a toy soldier. Through the use of filming Guido marching as a toy soldier it shows the viewer that this is what Joshua is seeing, and nothing else before or after is seen by Joshua there for he believes fully that he will win the tank and his father is out of the game. To the audience that knows what the German concentration camps where he will be killed.
The main signifiers include life is beautiful, winking marching and making up the tank game. This signifies that life is beautiful in Joshua’s eyes, and that he is saved from the real truth of the holocaust.
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