Take a wistful glimpse at the early postwar years with filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso. This beautiful film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival and Foreign Language Film At the Academy Awards in 1990.
There was a time when the local movie house was “the” gathering place of small towns. This is a sentimental film about the special relationship between a film-obsessed little boy and the movie house projectionist played by wonderful French actor Philippe Noiret. M. Noiret’s Alfredo looks like the surly type but of course, he has a heart of gold. Salvatore Cascio’s portrayal of the little boy was so touching, its never quite left me since I saw it when it first came out.
The Cinema Paradiso is the community centre, much like the kind of theatre where my parents might have gone to as children in their hometowns. This was the place to see your friends and discover worlds outside of their small towns.
Don Adelfio, the local priest is the one who decides what is permitted on the screen and what is not permitted, every kiss that might send their young blood racing is removed from the final cut.
On a side note, this does bring memories back for me. I recall that when we were kids, our dad used to ask us to leave the theatre, he did this at home too, a few times during some rather risqué scenes of some film or tv show we were watching. This was back in the 1980’s. We laugh about it now with our parents, but at the time, I recall being embarrassed and speaking with the concession person during our 5-10 minute wait and being told that we were missing the best part 😉 C’est la vie!
I won’t tell you any more about the film, so I won’t spoil it for you. There are no special effects, no action scenes, no gratuitous sex or violence … it’s a simple story that will affect your feelings, bring back long-forgotten memories. If you cringe at the thought of sentimental films or sub-titles, I’d suggest you stay far away … all others are welcome, if you’re a filmmaker, a film lover…. you’ll enjoy this, it is a masterpiece!