Thursday, September 15, 2011

100 - Cinema Paradiso (1988)

DVD Box
After receiving a phone call about the death of his former mentor from his mother who he hasn't seen in 30-years, Salvatore 'Totò' Di Vita looks back at his life growing up in a small Italian village.

As a child, Totò is obsessed with his local cinema, 'Cinema Paradiso', and often watches the censorship by the church of anything sexual in film - to the extent of kissing. After losing his father in the war, he forms a bond with Alfredo, the projectionist, who reluctantly allows Totò to go behind the scenes where he finds the censored film.

Totò is exposed to the dangers of early film including its flammability after his sister inadvertently sets alight Totò's secret stash of censored film. This danger is revealed on a grander scale as Alfredo is unable to prevent the cinema burning down a short while later, changing both his and Totò's lives for good.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Cinema Paradiso is very similar to the Apu Trilogy and indeed, I would go so far as to say that even as foreign language, subtitled films these two are at the forefront of coming-of-age films in terms of emotional impact in the world.

At first it doesn't seem like a film that is up to all that much. It's not often that you fancy going to the cinema to watch a film about, well, the cinema. Even the promise of a hugely emotional relationship between a film projectionist and a young boy in today's culture is considered a little weird in some circles.

Cinema Paradiso is, however, a very innocent film with many poignant moments aided greatly by the reassuringly happy jingle that plays throughout the films most tender moments.

Cinema Paradiso is a worthy winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and my only regret is that I chickened out of watching the extended cut for fear of being bored to pieces by "another stupid foreign film". Well that showed me.

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