Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Starring: Philippe Noiret, Salvatore Cascio, Antonella Attili, Jacques Perrin, Enzo Cannavale
“Life isn’t like in the movies. Life… is much harder.”
This astonishing story about friendship, cinema, love, and evolution create something I never thought was possible to display on the screen – and that is life… There are great films that present real stories with real characters, but none is like Cinema Paradiso, which became one of my favorite movies of all time because I found myself in the story, in the young Toto.
The plot follows Salvatore ‘Toto’ Di Vita, an important film director, who relives his childhood after the news of Alfredo’s death. We watch a post-war small Sicilian town, where people try to move on after the terrible war. There are not many activities you could do, except for going to work. There is the church, and something that will change the future of some characters – the cinema. Toto works at the church with the local priest, who is also the critic and the censor of all the movies that could be watched in the Cinema Paradiso. When the priest is watching the films, Toto sneaks in and watches the uncensored version of the film. To be clear, the priest censors all the kiss scenes, which are, in his opinion, too vulgar.
The boy is in love with the movies; he spends almost the entire day in the cinema, where Alfredo, the projectionist, works. Trying to find more about how movies work, Toto learns from Alfredo almost everything about film projection. His friendship with Alfredo is one of the reasons why this film is so great. Over time, it becomes more strengthened than ever. Along the way, there are a couple of unfortunate events, which will change some things forever. I won’t tell you more about it, because I don’t want to spoil anything; you have to watch it with your own eyes, to feel what I felt. You won’t regret it, I promise!
On the acting part, the young Toto’s actor is the best along with Alfredo’s. They are so natural, so wonderful, and the chemistry between them is perfect. The other characters are also memorable, even though they are not so much on the screen (I liked a lot Ciccio, a man who won on the football lottery).
The music, created by Ennio Morricone, is unforgettable. It contributes so much to some scenes that will bring you to tears, at least in the last minutes of the film. I don’t have any complaints about this piece of art. 5/5 is my rating. I hope you’ll watch it. Enjoy it and stay safe!