A famous film director remembers his childhood at the Cinema Paradiso where Alfredo, the projectionist, first brought about his love of films. He returns home to his Sicilian village for the first time after almost 30 years and is reminded of his first love, Elena, who disappeared from his life before he left for Rome. Written by
Graeme Roy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In some versions of the shorter theatrical release a shot of a far older Elena can be seen in the final credits montage (perhaps intentionally). See more »
When Toto runs to rescue Alfredo from the fire he falls face down, but in the next shot he raises face up. 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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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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