A boy who grew up in a native Sicilian Village returns home as a famous director after receiving news about the death of an old friend. Told in a flashback, Salvatore reminiscences about his childhood and his relationship with Alfredo, a projectionist at Cinema Paradiso. Under the fatherly influence of Alfredo, Salvatore fell in love with film making, with the duo spending many hours discussing about films and Alfredo painstakingly teaching Salvatore the skills that became a stepping stone for the young boy into the world of film making. The film brings the audience through the changes in cinema and the dying trade of traditional film making, editing and screening. It also explores a young boy's dream of leaving his little town to foray into the world outside.Written by
By the end of 1956, Italy had 17,000 movie theaters, the most in Europe. See more »
When Toto is young, the films that Alfredo gave him catch fire. They burn and ruin the only picture that his mother had of his father. When Toto is a grown up, this "burnt" picture is hanged on the wall totally unharmed. See more »
Maria Di Vita - Older:
[on the phone]
Maria Di Vita - Older:
Yes, Salvatore di Vita. You mean you don't know him, Miss? That's right, and I'm his mother. I've been calling from Sicily, all day long. I understand, he's not there.
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Originally presented at the EuropaCinema Festival in a 173-minute edition. It was there released in Italy at 155 minutes; after a very poor box office performance, the film was pulled out of circulation and shortened to 124 minutes. After it won the Special Jury Prize at the 1989 Cannes festival and the Best Foreign Film Oscar, it was re-released in Italy on video first in its initial 155 minutes cut and then in the original 173-minutes director's cut. See more »
After seeing this special edition DVD which shows the entire 174-minute film (in addition to the 121-minute one that most of us had seen over the years,) my rating of this film was elevated. This review is of the longer "director's cut."
Most of the new footage involved the main's character's romance while he was a young man. The story then is continued years later when that character comes back to his hometown for a funeral and runs into the woman he was in love with but never was able to get for his own. It turns out to be a somewhat tragic love story.
The first part of the film, with Salvatore Cascio as "Toto" a young boy is a love story about two people sharing their love of movies: the kid and an adult "Alfredo" (Phillpe Noiret) who runs the local movie theater. Their love of film bonds them for life.
The word "love" is used repeatedly in this review because that's the dominant theme: the love people had for others and for the world of film, something all of us on this website share.
The second and third parts of the film are the above-mentioned love story of Toto (Marco Leonardi as an adolescent and then Jacques Perrin as an adult) and "Elena" (Agnese Nano/ Brigitte Fossey). The first third of this director;s cut edition is much livelier and interesting, frankly, than the last two-thirds. Although not boring, it does drag in a few spots but the longer version is better in the long run because it makes the whole story much more meaningful.
It's very nicely filmed and you get a real feel for the Italian people and their little town. The director of the movie, Giuseppe Tornatore, went on to make other great visual films, two of which I also like: Malena and The Star Maker.....but Cinema Paradiso, I believe, is considered his "masterpiece."
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