Cinema Italiano 2014

“Cinema Paradiso”

Philippe Noiret (Alfredo) and Salvatore Cascio (Toto) in 'Cinema Paradiso' (1988)

Philippe Noiret (Alfredo) and Salvatore Cascio (Toto) in ‘Cinema Paradiso’ (1988)

So I’m a few days late, but the final Italian film on my 2014 viewing list is the 1988 sentimental beauty Cinema Paradiso. The story, told in flashback, recounts the life of Salvatore (aka “Toto”), an Italian film director who returns to his home in Sicily for the first time in 30 years. His return is due to the passing of Alfredo, his dear friend and mentor who was a film projectionist at the town’s cinema. The film shows the highs and lows of Salvatore’s childhood, his love of movies, his first romantic love, and his decision to leave home to pursue his dreams.

I haven’t seen this film since 1990. I couldn’t help but be swept away in reflection of my own life over the past 25 years–of happiness, sadness, lost love, life decisions, and, most importantly, of dear people who cared for me and helped me along my way.

Written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, the film also contains an unforgettable soundtrack by prolific Italian composer Ennio Morricone, It won a well-deserved Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1990. Nostalgic, heart-rending, and beautiful, Cinema Paradiso is a love letter to movies, to Italy, and to life.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Cinema Paradiso is available on Netflix DVD.