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The backdrop for Benigni's film is the Holocaust. Benigni is able to construct the vast historical background of the Holocaust alongside the father/ son archetype that is such a part of modern cinema narratives. This makes the backdrop of the film two levels. One operates as the historical and political setting of Holocaust and the persecution of millions that either opposed or were perceived to oppose Nazi ideology. Another backdrop is the emotional dynamic of father and son. Through both backdrops, the film becomes extremely significant and relevant. It is able to do so because it uses both backdrops to complement one another. Transcendent values shared between father and son can exist in a time period where so much transcendence was eliminated. This backdrop of the film enables it to operate within history and outside of it, as well. It enables the viewer to be able to assert their own hopes and aspirations in a historical context that sought to remove much in way of validation. It is for this reason that the backdrop of the film is not merely one experience, but actually multiple. In doing so, Benigni's film proves to be highly effective in seeking to better understand the Holocaust and the role of art in its depiction.
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