May 19, 2008 (Vol. 7, No. 9)
Professor Interviews Oscar Winner Roberto Benigni
Professor Grace Bullaro (English) recently interviewed famed Italian director, writer, and actor Roberto Benigni about his work, the nature of his comedy, and his popular televised readings of Dante's Divine Comedy, as well as current events in Italy and the U.S.
Benigni won two Academy Awards in 1997—for Best Actor and Best Foreign Language Film—for his film Life is Beautiful. Born in Tuscany, he rose to prominence in Italy in the 1970s for his controversial television series Onda Libera. His other directorial credits include Tu Mi Turbi (1983), Non Ci Resta Che Piangere (1984), The Little Devil (1988), Johnny Stecchino (1991), the Monster (1994), Pinocchio (2002), and The Tiger and the Snow (2005). Benigni also stars in many of his films alongside his wife, Nicoletta Braschi.
Born in Salerno, Italy, Professor Bullaro earned her undergraduate degree at City College and graduate and post-graduate degrees from SUNY Stony Brook. Her academic interests include French and Italian literature, cultural movements, existentialist philosophy, Italian cinema, and gender studies.
She is the author of Beyond Life is Beautiful: Comedy and Tragedy in the Cinema of Roberto Benigni (Leicester, England: Troubador Publishing Ltd., 2005) and Man in Disorder: The Cinema of Lina Wertmuller in the 1970s (Troubador Publishing Ltd., 2006).