Jul 28, 2007

Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Directed by : Giuseppe Tornatore
Produced by : Franco Cristaldi, Giovanna Romagnoli
Written by : Giuseppe Tornatore
Starring : Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi, Philippe Noiret, Jacques Perrin
Music by : Ennio Morricone
Release date(s) : 1988
Running time : 155 Min Italy, 121 Min Cut USA, 174 Min
Language : Italian

Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (1988) is an Italian film written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. It was internationally released as Cinema Paradiso in France, Spain, the UK and the US.

It was originally released in Italy at 155 minutes but poor box office performance in its native country led to it being shortened to 123 minutes for international release. It was an instant success. This international version won the Special Jury Prize at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival and the 1989 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. In 2002, the director's cut 173-minute version was released (known in the U.S. as Cinema Paradiso: The New Version).

It stars Jacques Perrin, Philippe Noiret, Leopoldo Trieste, Marco Leonardi, Agnese Nano and Salvatore Cascio. It was produced by Franco Cristaldi and Giovanna Romagnoli, and the music was by Ennio Morricone along with his son Andrea Morricone.

Told in flashback, it tells the story of the return to his native Sicilian village of a successful film director "Salvatore" for the funeral of his old friend "Alfredo", who was the projectionist at the local "Cinema Paradiso". Ultimately, Alfredo serves as a wise father figure to his young friend who only wishes the best to see him succeed, even if it means breaking his heart in the process.

The film intertwines sentimentality with comedy, and nostalgia with pragmaticism. It explores issues of youth, coming of age, and reflections (in adulthood) about the past. The imagery in each scene can be said to reflect Salvatore's idealised memories about his childhood. Cinema Paradiso is also a celebration of films; as a projectionist, young Toto develops the passion for films that shapes his life path in adulthood.

A famous film director returns home to a Sicilian village for the first time after almost 30 years. He reminisces about his childhood at the Cinema Paradiso where Alfredo, the projectionist, first facilitated his love of films. He is also reminded of his lost teenage love, Elena, who was forced to leave Salvatore (Toto) because of her father. In the 123-minute release she remains only a lasting memory, but in the 154-minute version she and Toto meet again. Old and grayed they see the life that has passed before them. As their conversation unfolds, Salvatore discovers that Elena married an old friend, but even more importantly, discovers that Alfredo was the reason why their relationship ended, when Alfredo reluctantly manipulated her into leaving him, if only to see Salvatore follow his dreams. They see each other and make love in a car. Toto seems to want to relight their relationship, but Elena tells him that this is impossible.

The film ends with Salvatore inheriting a film reel that Alfredo left for him, made up out of film clips cut from the reels by the projectionist (to appease the censor, the local priest). The clips are romantic scenes from every film Alfredo has projected in the theater, causing tears to come to Salvatore's eyes.

Cinema Paradiso was a critical and box-office success and is regarded by some as a classic. It is particularly renowned for the famous 'kissing scenes' montage near the end of the film.


* Antonella Attili - Maria (Young)
* Enzo Cannavale - Spaccafico
* Isa Danieli - Anna
* Leo Gullotta - Usher
* Marco Leonardi - Salvatore (Adolescent)
* Pupella Maggio - Maria (Old)
* Agnese Nano - Elena (Adolescent)
* Leopoldo Trieste - Father Adelfio
* Salvatore Cascio - Salvatore (Child)
* Tano Cimarosa - Blacksmith
* Nicola Di Pinto - Village Idiot
* Roberta Lena - Lia
* Nino Terzo - Peppino's Father
* Jacques Perrin - Salvatore (Adult)
* Philippe Noiret - Alfredo

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