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A celebration of youth, friendship, and the magic of the movies
Cinema Paradiso (DVD)
Member Name: carlz2001uk
Cinema Paradiso (DVD)
Advantages: Story, acting, Toto, homage to the movies
Disadvantages: None whatsoever
Following on from my review of the fantastic Life is Beautiful film, I wanted to let you know about another excellent Italian film that I would never have chosen to watch had it not been for my degree.
Cinema Paradiso was made in 1988 and follows a film director who reminisces about his childhood at the Cinema Paradiso cinema with Alfredo, the projectionist. The film is in the main set in Salvatore's childhood and shows how his love for film began. Much like other Italian films, Cinema Paradiso follows relationships and shows the importance of making bonds and friendships. Salvatore and Alfredo treat each other like father and son while at the same time Alfredo teaches Salvatore how to become a projectionist and the skill that is required. This is a fascinating watch in itself, and I didn't realise the skill and danger required for traditional films with reels, in order for them to be shown to audiences.
The film is a celebration of cinema and makes many references to many famous films within it such as Casablanca, Gone With The Wind, Fury and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It also shows how the film industry has changed in a relatively short space of time.
The church is an extremely important part of Cinema Paradiso and shows how powerful it was in the censorship of cinema, with an interesting scene with a priest who insists on watching and censoring every single film brought into Cinema Paradiso much to the distaste of Alfredo who must cut the reels to take out the bits the priest doesn't approve of! Cinema Paradiso is often credited for the revival of Italian cinema which paved the way for the success of later films such as Life is Beautiful, so the fact that it is such a fantastic film is a bonus!
As if I didn't love this film enough, the fact that it is such an easy watch despite it being a subtitled film is a bonus as you can watch it easily. It obviously has hidden meanings within it as do most films, but you can see past them if you want an easy watch.
Children are always a popular theme within Italian films and are used a lot in this film. The young Toto (the nickname for Salvatore) is an outstanding actor and uses the directors vision to portray children's way of thinking excellently. The director wanted to show how the poor lived and by using children it emphasises the injustice more. Toto also comes across as being more knowledgeable and aware than some of the adults within it. This may have something to do with Toto learning the art of the projectionist but he is definitely treat with equality amongst his elders. This is lovely to watch and I could have spent hours watching how adults treat him like one of them.
This film doesn't have expensive special effects (or any really!), popular actors (there are a few - although these are interestingly French and not Italian - making this film a co-production), and nor is it full of sex or violence. It is simply a great film with good acting and a good story line. It is somehow enchanting but I'm not quite sure why. If you love films, you simply have to go to the movies with this film!
Interesting Fact: Giuseppe Tornatore's (the Director) intention was that this movie would serve as an obituary for the movie industry and traditional movie theatres (like the one on the film), but after the movie's success he never mentioned this again!
Release Date: 23 February 1990.
Run time: 155 minutes.
Summary: 5 stars