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Nuovo Cinema Paradiso
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Reviews & Ratings for
Cinema Paradiso More at IMDbPro »Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (original title)

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176 out of 200 people found the following review useful:

As Good as Movies Get

10/10
Author: michaelsjmurphy from Illinois
29 November 1999

Movies can wield a strange power over those who sit in the darkened seats of a theatre. The truly great ones manipulate your perception of reality, suspend your disbelief, and ultimately either alter or affirm your view on life. NUOVO CINEMA PARADISO is just such a movie. It is the near-perfect melding of direction, acting, script, sound track, and cinematography. Phillipe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio give the kind of performances usually associated with much more recognizable actors. The supporting cast looks like they could all be full-blooded Sicilians. The location shots add depth and realism to the entire production. Ennio Morricone's music is simply the most appropriate and emotive I have ever had the pleasure to hear in a theatre. Tornatore's script and direction are a joy, a breath of fresh air.

I will not spoil this story by repeating it, nor will I give away the ending, although it matters not a whit. I could disclose fully everything in this movie, and in seeing it, all my words would evaporate. There is nothing like the experience of sitting through it, becoming engulfed by it, and in the end, being changed.

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134 out of 141 people found the following review useful:

My favourite film of all time

Author: DrLenera from UK
20 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is by now well known that there are two versions of this film that differ greatly, the original 3 hour Italian cut and the heavily re-edited 2 hour version which was the version that charmed the world in 1989. It remains a wonderful experience, but the director's cut is so much richer, deeper, satisfying,well,everything. This review is of the director's cut which may not be the greatest film in the world but is my favourite film of all time ever since I came out of the cinema in which I first saw it in back in 1994 crying my eyes out. Never has a film effected me as emotionally as this one. Cinema Paradiso is many things- a touching story of a friendship, a wonderful portrayal of a Sicilian village, a loving tribute to the cinema, amongst other things, but the longer cut is I believe the most moving and romantic love story ever. For my money, you can forget Casablanca,Dr Zhivago,Titanic,Romeo and Juliet,etc {great as some of them are}, this is the one that does it for me.

Divided into three sections, it is the first section that was left almost intact in the short version. It is of course primarily concerned with the relationship between young Toto and the projectionist of his local cinema, Alfredo. It is full of delightful touches,such as Toto stealing a frame of film from behind Alfredo's back, or when Toto helps Alfredo during an exam so he can be allowed into the projection booth, or perhaps best and simplest of all of all Toto's spellbound face as he watches the footage that will be censored by the town priest. The cinema is portrayed as almost being the centre of life in the town Giancaldo in which the film is mostly set. The actual sequences set in the cinema are full of wonderful observation and even some belly laughs. There's the man who only goes to the cinema to sleep and is always awoken by kids, the couple who see each other for the first time because everyone else is cowering from Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, the old man who says "no, this is IMPORTANT" when everyone else "booos" the news-all human life is here, with more observations and insights than in any Mike Leigh film. This section climaxes in a scene which is simply magical, when Alfredo projects a film onto the wall of a house so everyone can see it.

As the film moves forward several years to show Toto as a 16 year old, the wonderful cinema scenes are still present. Who can forget the cinema usher telling off a group of young boys for playing with themselves while watching Brigitte Bardot and then sheepishly giving his own manhood a little touch? Director Guiseppe Tornatore also subtly reminds us of changing times, such as when television is first shown in the cinema. However, it is mainly concerned with Toto's {now called Salvatore} courtship of the girl he is in love with, Elena. No one who has experienced the pangs of first love can fail to respond to such scenes as Salvatore ranting on to Elena on the phone how much he loves her and realising he's actually been talking to her mother, or the beautiful first kiss and embrace in the projection booth {of course}.

It is in the final section, as Salvatore, now a great film director, returns to Giancaldo as a 50ish man to attend Alfredo's funeral,where the humour all but disappears {well, life gets more serious as one gets older, does it not?} and the pace does slow-be warned. It is possibly the most emotional hour of cinema ever, and was cut to about 15 mins in the short version. Salvatore's reunion with Elena, which also displays absolutely brilliant acting from Jacques Perrin and Brigitte Fossey, is so painful a sequence, as the two characters pour their hearts out to each other. As Ennio Morricone's love theme swells up {a truly heartbreaking piece of music},it ends up being one of the most beautiful love scenes ever filmed. Salvatore's reunion with his mother and his exploration of the cobwebbed, dilapidated, cinema are also extremely moving. As for the final scene, where Salvatore opens a certain gift Alfredo left him-well,there's been too many spoilers already in this review, but suffice to say it is matchless, simply matchless. It was moving in the short cut, but is three times more meaningful in the director's cut.

Cinema Paradiso has been called sentimental, but in the director's cut it is a darker, deeper kind of sentimentality. Maybe it is still "a love letter to the cinema", but it is also shows that obsessive love of something such as films can also result in sadness and regret. Think of what happens to Alfredo in the film, and as for Salvatore, well, his curse is that he has two loves in his life but success in one of them comes at the expense of the other. The uncut Cinema Paradiso is more then anything else about life and the effect of the decisions we make. O, and the greatest, most heartbreaking love story ever {have I already said this!}

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129 out of 145 people found the following review useful:

A Masterpiece

10/10
Author: (darkside2003@tin.it) from Lake Como - Italy
30 January 2005

I seldom watch Italian movies, (i saw it today for the first time) being Italian maybe i'm biased, but this one really stands out. A real masterpiece; i can't remember another movie so moving like this one, maybe Schindler's list; it makes you laugh and it makes you cry, yet it is so simple and straightforward. Maybe there lies its magic: no Hollywood superstars, no special effects, just pure emotions and feelings, love, fear, grief and regret, nostalgia for childhood and youth, memories of places and times that will not come back, memories of the loved ones. Some movies are there to entertain, some to scare, some to question. This movie is there to affect your feelings. Definitely to be seen.

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131 out of 149 people found the following review useful:

A breath of fresh air blowing away the cobwebs of Hollywood "blah" films.

Author: ali-38 from Christchurch, New Zealand
21 December 1998

I have seen this film at least a dozen times and each time I am carried away to a small village in Italy, where the dreams of a small boy come true and we can join his spellbinding journey. The Italian language (it is subtitled) adds to the film's beauty and music, the characters are so real you can almost smell them. I am absorbed into "Paradiso" each time I watch it, so that when it is over, I am shocked into the realisation that I haven't actually been anywhere except right there, in my theatre seat. I am not a huge "art house" film fan or indeed enjoy subtitled films (it is hard on the old eyes!) but "Paradiso" is a gem and is worth seeing again and again.

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123 out of 136 people found the following review useful:

Personal Favorite

10/10
Author: *DATo* from St. Louis, USA
16 May 1999

Whether you are a professional or an amateur it is always wise to avoid superlatives with regard to a movie critique ... but I cannot. 'Cinema Paradiso' is simply the finest movie I have ever seen. Like many who have posted at this site before me I have seen it many many times. It reaches within me to places other movies have never reached and I have often wondered why. Perhaps it is because of it's simplicity. It contains no expensive special effects, it has no gratuitous sex or violence, it has no "multi-millon dollar per performance" actors that I know of, it is arguable whether it even has a story line, and yet it soars far above the nonsense that film makers are producing these days. It's characters are portrayed by each and every actor in award winning style and the music is not only beautiful but absolutely perfect for this film.

It is quite simply the story of a human life and it's tragedies and triumphs within the context of a vocation. A young boy matures and gradually learns the lessons of life, cultivates his passion for the cinema, and is rewarded with professional success; however, he remains unfulfilled for true love has escaped him only to return in the form of a gift of love which transcends time, space, and death to reveal at the closing of the film Toto's one true mistress.

A staggering triumph of both the cinematic art and of story telling and yet there may be found people who do not like this movie .... I tend to keep such people at arms length and maintain a wary eye fixed upon them at all times.

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90 out of 104 people found the following review useful:

Profoundly important movie

10/10
Author: davspin from United States
25 December 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Cinema Paradiso is a profoundly important movie because it deals with identifiable emotions/issues that could be considered universal on so many levels. The entire story is retrospective similar to Fellini's style as well as a love story that pulls in the viewer on an emotional level. The film also attempts to expose an inkling of Sicilian life, language,(different from Italian) and how "history" has intruded upon and shaped the mentality of the Sicilian people; to also show that traditional concepts of what is "moral" or right is not to be taken for granted because of the people and their particular history. For those who do not fancy history or non-fiction, the film attempts to educate the "outsider" not familiar with Sicilian history as it pertains to the WWII era. I watch it again and again and see more and more details that pertain to the story. I did see it on the big screen at a local theater back in 1991 and it was a hit with the audience. I have several scenerio that I think could make it more interesting and am very curious about the uncut version and what is different about it. Finally, the movie does make me cry because it is after all a love story and it is clear at the end that Toto (aka Salvatore)is still in love with Elena and that is why he never married or settled down "..to love one person. . . " as his mother says to him after his 30 year absence from home. The final scene of the credits also shows him looking at Elena again and the look on his face is telling. This film has many little "hints" that serve to inform the viewer and give just a little more info. about the story. Truly, one of the best films I have ever seen !!! These characters come alive and we feel like we know them--personally. Viva Giuseppe Tornatore for his masterpiece!

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101 out of 136 people found the following review useful:

For Those With a Heart

Author: Boyo-2
4 October 1999

This movie is very sentimental, so if you are proud of your cynical side, stay away.

If you are scared of foreign movies and start foaming at the mouth at a subtitle, stay away.

For the rest of us, this is a masterpiece! Enjoy the movie and enjoy yourself! The end is so beautiful that it is almost unbelievable.

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89 out of 116 people found the following review useful:

Every Filmmaker's Favorite Film

10/10
Author: caspian1978 from Boston, MA
12 February 2005

Giuseppe Tornatore's Nuovo cinema Paradiso (Cinema Paradiso) is everything good about the movies. It is a story about love. The love between a Father and Son, an Individual and his home, and the love for the movies. Even if this is not your favorite film, if you are a filmmaker, you have no choice but to say this is your all time favorite film (if not one of the greatest films ever made). If only for the movie's ending, this is a great film. The ending answers all of your questions and completes the story. The missing love from a Man's life. The missing pieces to all the stories (movies) found and made into a whole. The final message from beyond the grave, the ending is perfect. If the musical score doesn't put you in tears, the amazing visuals will push you over the edge. This is what all movies should be about. Terrific.

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62 out of 66 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful film about the love of movies and life

9/10
Author: doeadear from Palmdale, CA
16 June 1999

I continue to be moved and deeply touched by this beautiful film from Italy, and I never tire of watching it. I share the lives of Toto and Alfredo, the small Sicilian boy, who loses his father in the second world war, and the older man who runs the projector at the local cinema. Toto lives in a world of make believe, movies, adventure. His dreams take him away from the small Sicilian village where he lives with his mother and sister. Alfredo becomes for him a surrogate father, and the movies, his paralell existence. It is a deceptively simple film, which sweeps you up and carries you along. You never want it to end. And, when it does end, it is with such heartbreaking simplicity, I cannot help being moved to tears. Young Salvatore Cascio is a marvel as the small Toto, a mischievous, impish, adorable child. Phillipe Noiret is unforgettable as the sly and heart-warming Alfredo. You grow up with Toto, until he becomes a famous film director in Rome, and returns to the small village after many years for Alfredo's funeral. It is the story of life, lost love, devotion, friendship, and family. It is unforgettable.

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34 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

The Loves Of 'Toto' Beautifully Told

8/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
21 March 2006

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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