Sunday, August 2, 2015

The role of Barcarolle in 'Life is Beautiful'

Venice is a city in Italy. It is considered beautiful, and all of it is a World Heritage Site. They have gondolas, which are rowing boats that carry tourists. The gondola is driven by a gondolier.

The folk song sung by the gondolier is called barcarolle.

Barcarolle is also found in classical music, in the form of music set to the rhythm of the gondolier's stroke while rowing.

One of the most famous barcarolle is 'Belle nuit, รด nuit d'amour' from an opera by Jacques Offenbach. It has been used brilliantly by filmmaker Roberto Benigni in his film 'Life is Beautiful'. We are going to see the usage of this music in the film. The same music across two distinct emotions.

It's okay if you have not seen the film. The following clip comes with information about the scenes that have used the barcarolle.

Information courtsey: Llavez's channel

In this scene, Barcarolle plays as he attempts to "magically seduce" his love interest. He keeps saying, "Look at me Princess, I'm here. Turn, turn, turn." lol

And the following scene is heart-breaking. For those who haven't seen this movie, it was set during WWII when the German were rounding up Jews in Europe. Benigni plays Guido, an Italian Jew, and falls for Dora (Nicoletta Braschi).

She is wearing the stripes because she refused to be separated from her husband and son when they were taken, and he is reminding her of past loving moments.

The usage of the Barcarolle also represents the fall of humanity, and of beauty - it is relegated to stripes behind the prison. While in the first scene, the man looks up to the woman and hopes to magically woo her, it is the woman who looks up in the concentration camp scenario. The man uses the music to fill the air with magic and memories of love.

If you don't understand the words sung, here is the Barcarolle in purely instrumental form. That's all for this post.

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