Life Is Beautiful
Italian actress Nicoletta Braschi, wife of Italian actor, writer and director Roberto Benigni, was catapulted toward international spotlight for her role as Dora, in the Academy Award-winning comedy film "Vita è bella, La" (aka "Life Is Beautiful"; 1997), which was directed, co-written and starred by Benigni.
The award-winning actress who first worked with Benigni in her first film “Tu Mi Turbi” (“You Upset Me”; aka 1983), has regularly worked with him for such films as "Johnny Stecchino" (aka "Johnny Toothpick"; 1991), "Mostro, Il" (aka "The Monster"; 1994), "Pinocchio" (2002; she portrayed the Blue Fairy), and "Tigre e la neve, La" (aka "The Tiger and the Snow"; 2005).
Braschi also collaborated with American director Jim Jarmusch for the films "Down by Law" (1986) and "Mystery Train" (1989). Back to her home country, she received rave reviews for her portrayal of a dedicated teacher named Giovanna in Paolo Virzì's Italian drama comedy, "Ovosodo" (aka "Hardboiled Egg"; 1997).
Braschi was a member of the jury at the Berlin Film Festival in 2002.
Childhood and Family:
In Cesena, Italy, Nicoletta Braschi was born on August 10, 1960. She studied in Rome’s Accademia di Arte Drammatica.
On the set of her first film, “Tu mi turbi” (aka “You Disturb Me”; 1983), Braschi met Academy Award-winning Italian actor, writer and director Roberto Benigni (born on October 27, 1952). The two exchanged wedding vows in December 1991 and are still happily married to this day. Braschi would later star in most of the films Benigni directed.
I Like to Work
Honing her skills in Rome’s Accademia di Arte Drammatica, Nicoletta Braschi landed her first professional acting job in the film "Tu mi turbi ("You Disturb Me"; 1983), a comedy directed and starred by future husband Roberto Benigni. She followed it up with writer/director Giuseppe Bertolucci's dramatic film, "Segreti segreti" (aka "Secrets Secrets"; 1985).
In 1986, Braschi made her American debut in writer/director Jim Jarmusch's black-and-white drama/comedy feature film, "Down by Law." In the film, which also stars Benigni, Tom Waits and John Lurie, she played Nicoletta, a woman who falls in love with an escaped con (played by Benigni).
Two years after her American debut, Braschi flew to Morocco to film a French film helmed by Marco Ferreri, "Come sono buoni i bianchi" (aka "How Good the Whites Are"; 1988). That same year, she also reunited with Benigni in the fantasy/comedy film "Piccolo diavolo, Il" (aka "The Little Devil"), which was directed, written and starred by Benigni.
In 1989, Braschi made her second film with indie film director Jim Jarmusch in the anthology film "Mystery Train" (1989), playing Luisa, a woman trying to escort her husband's coffin back to Italy. The Cannes-premiered film also stars Youki Kudoh, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Joe Strummer and Steve Buscemi.
Entering the new decade, Braschi supported Debra Winger and John Malkovich in Bernardo Bertolucci's film adaptation of Paul Bowles's 1949 novel, "The Sheltering Sky," a romantic drama set in the Sahara Desert in 1948. She then co-starred with Patricia Arquette in the Italian film "Domenica specialmente, La" (aka "Especially on Sunday"; 1991) and was directed by Benigni in his comedy film "Johnny Stecchino" (aka "Johnny Toothpick"; 1991), in which she played his affection.
Braschi reunited with Benigni again in Blake Edwards-directed comedy "Son of the Pink Panther" (1993). Afterwards, she starred as Detective Jessica Rosetti, a beautiful police officer who is sent to lure Benigni's small-time thief's character, in "Mostro, Il" (aka "The Monster"; 1994), a comedy co-directed and co-written by Benigni.
After starring in opposite Carlo DeFilippi in Marco Tullio Giordana's Italian film "Pasolini, un delitto italiano" (aka "Pasolini, an Italian Crime"; 1995), Braschi went to co-star with Marcello Mastroianni and Joaquim de Almeida in Roberto Faenza's film version of Antonio Tabucchi's novel, "Sostiene Pereira" (aka "According to Pereira"; 1996). She also portrayed a dedicated teacher named Giovanna in Paolo Virzì's Italian drama comedy film, "Ovosodo" (aka "Hardboiled Egg"; 1997), which won her Best Supporting Actress at the David di Donatello Awards.
In 1997, Braschi hit the big time when she portrayed Dora, a not-Jewish woman who marries an Italian Jew (played by Benigni) who struggles to protect their son in a Nazi death camp, in "Vita è bella, La" (aka "Life Is Beautiful"; 1997). The Italian-language film garnered critical acclaim worldwide, winning the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998 and went on to win Academy Awards for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score and Best Foreign Language Film. Benigni also won Best Actor for his role. Additionally, the film was nominated for Academy Awards for Directing, Film Editing, Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay. As for Braschi, she was nominated a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast.
However, Braschi experienced a career slow-down when she, alongside Benigni, was nominated a Razzie award for Worst Screen Couple for their work in the film "Pinocchio" (2002), which was also directed and co-written by Benigni. Braschi portrayed the Blue Fairy in the film. Meanwhile, she was a member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in that year.
Two years later, Braschi starred as a working single-mother in writer/director Francesca Comencini's true story-based psychological drama, "Mi piace lavorare - Mobbing" (aka "I Like to Work (Mobbing)"; 2004). For her performance, Braschi won Best Actress Award at the Mar del Plata Film Festival and was nominated a Beas Actress at the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.
In the following year, Braschi worked with Benigni again in the romantic war drama/comedy film "Tigre e la neve, La" (aka "The Tiger and the Snow"; 2005), alongside Jean Reno, Tom Waits and Emilia Fox. In the film, which was directed, co-written and starred by Benigni, Braschi co-starred as Vittoria, a writer and the love interest of Benigni's lead character.
Mar del Plata Film Festival: Best Actress, "Mi piace lavorare - Mobbing," 2004
David di Donatello: Best Supporting Actress, "Ovosodo," 1998