Throughout the summer, were featuring a movie that someone on our staff has picked as one of their favorite Miramax films. While the blockbusters invade the theaters, consider watching one of the staff picks instead. Today's pick Cinema Paradiso, is from our Development intern, Denise van der Goot. This charming movie about friendship, love and movies won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1990.
Denise van der Goot
Based on true events from director Giuseppe Tornatore's childhood, Cinema Paradiso tells the beautiful story of one boy's love for cinema and how it shapes his life. Set a few years after World War II in the Sicilian village of Giancaldo, the film follows the story of mischievous young Salvatore, nicknamed 'Toto', who befriends the local film projectionist, Alfredo. Though reluctant at first, Alfredo teaches Salvatore how to use the film projector and ultimately encourages him to leave the village and pursue his passion for filmmaking. The film, told as a flashback, follows Salvatore's life up until the point where he leaves Giancaldo, only to return thirty years later for the funeral of his lifelong friend.
Accurately described by many to be Tornatore's love letter to cinema, Cinema Paradiso reveals the magic of movies by showing how individuals of all varieties--from priests to young mothers--fall under the spell of the big screen. In the village of Giancaldo, the movie theatre is central to the social scene and becomes the place where memories are made and shared.
The universal quality of cinema is reflected in one of the most delightful moments in the movie, when Alfredo turns the projector outwards over the village square so that everyone can enjoy the spectacle. Cinema Paradiso also comments on more somber issues relating to film, such as censorship and the sad decline of movie theatres.
Despite a simple and straightforward narrative, Cinema Paradiso touches upon many different themes, including friendship, first love, growing up, and nostalgia for the past. Interestingly, for a film with such a clear nostalgic tone, Cinema Paradiso becomes self-referential in that it actually cautions the viewer against letting nostalgia dictate one's life.
*spoiler alert* If for no other reason, Cinema Paradiso is worth watching simply for its undeniably moving final scene in which Salvatore watches the film reel Alfredo left as his final gift to him. Simultaneously bittersweet and uplifting, Cinema Paradiso reminds us of the best reasons why we love cinema and is sure to please any movie-lover.