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Seeking Asylum
Seeking Asylum
Actors: Roberto Benigni, Francesca De Sapio, Dominique Laffin, Luca Levi, Girolamo Marzano
Director: Marco Ferreri
Genres: Indie & Art House
NR     1999     1hr 50min

Starring Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful, Down By Law), this is the rare Marco Ferreri "family film," where a fun-loving and highly unorthodox school teacher brings some magic into the lives of the young children when h...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Roberto Benigni, Francesca De Sapio, Dominique Laffin, Luca Levi, Girolamo Marzano
Director: Marco Ferreri
Creators: Roberto Benigni, Pasquale Rachini, Marco Ferreri, Mauro Bonanni, Jacqueline Ferreri, Renzo Rossellini, Gérard Brach
Genres: Indie & Art House
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/18/1999
Original Release Date: 01/01/1979
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1979
Release Year: 1999
Run Time: 1hr 50min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

(3 out of 5 stars)

"For all of you die-hard Benigni fans out there, this is a must have. However, don't expect to see the same sort of acting style that has made Roberto famous. This is an offbeat film where Roberto plays a cooky kindergarden teacher. Benigni's character experiments with his teaching by amusing the children in crazy ways, like bringing in a donkey as their class mascot. Nonetheless, Benigni plays it straight whithout the witty humor we have grown to love Benigni for. It is a lovely tale with various side plots. I wouldn't reccomend this film to somebody who is just getting to know Benigni, because it will turn him off. But if you are already a fan, this may interest you. Just be aware that the visual and audio quality of this low-budget 1979 film is poor."
Benigni, e la sua bomba
(1 out of 5 stars)

"This movie was horrible. If you are expecting to see the same Roberto that we all love in Life is Beautiful, The Monster, and Johnny Stechino this movie is not for you. Seeking Asylum was very slow moving with very little humor what so ever. In fact, this movie is so bad that it will turn you off on Benigni. So if you are a Benigni fan skip this one for your own good."
Difficult to watch
Michael Lella | 01/08/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Being a Benigni fan, I purchased this video on faith. The film and sound quality are poor and the plot difficult/impossible to follow. With three of us watching, we had to stop the tape to discuss what was going on; not because we were enthralled, but because we were lost."
More than meets the eye
Mario Kitty | San Francisco | 03/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Yes, this film is totally atypical of Benigni's work and it will bore you or disappoint you if you are looking for a simple, light-hearted comedy about kids replete with Benigni's standard repertoire of gags. Really this movie is social commentary underneath a simple storyline with some comedic moments.
An idealistic, albeit goofy, young man decides to turn his hand to running a nursery school program in an industrialized part of a major city where all of the children's parents are employed by the local factory. So if you think about the socialist and marxist ideals of many young Italians (before the Craxi debacle) who grew up while Italy was transforming into the economically powerful, yet deeply troubled, nation it is today; you can see how this movie was very timely for the 1970s. It's got so many different messages within it (communism, educational reform, mental health care for children or lack there of, the fading ideal of the nuclear family, Bologna, the Red Brigades, children's rights, the lack of support for families and the encroaching and overwhelming demands of life in a totally capitalist society and on and on... not to mention Benigni's character's existential dilemmas) that you could really watch this film many, many times. This movie is not at all Hollywood and neither is it Cinecitta (and honestly,in the year 2007 - sadly, what's the difference?) that it's great. Yes, at times you feel like your watching a student film, but I kind of liked the less-than-perfect visual and audio quality; it made the film feel more authentic.
If you don't know or care about Italy, Italians, history, and children, you won't like this film. If you want some light-hearted Benigni vehicle like Johnny Stecchino, you will detest this movie.
If you are interested in 1970s Italy and, in my opinion, the time when Italy made a wrong turn (with much prodding and manipulation by the US), you will enjoy it. It's a glimpse into history and I found it very, very refreshing. It helps if you speak and/or read Italian well, the subtitles don't do the film justice."