Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso defines poignancy. In many circles, this picture is considered the greatest foreign film ever made. Touché! Cinema Paradiso is a virtuous concoction of love, faith, and film that spans two special relationships between a boy and his mentor and a man and his love of the movies. It is the type of surreal, sublime, and nostalgic motion picture that can put your approbation on a pedestal to a sheer state of elation. All the while, it can tickle your funny bone, result in a multitude of warm smiles, and even inflict a tear or two. If you have a passion for great cinema, you will adore Cinema Paradiso.
Through an extended flashback, Salvatore DiVita (Philippe Noiret) recollects his adolescence as a cinephile in the village of Giancaldo. As a youngster, Salvatore – nicknamed Toto (Salvatore Cascio) - builds a lasting friendship with Alfredo (Jacques Perrin), the projectionist at the village’s movie theater. As a young adult, Salvatore (Marco Leonardi) becomes increasingly immersed in the magic of cinema — eventually taking over as projectionist and even doing some filming of his own. However, after experiencing both his first love named Elena (Agnese Nano) and the troubles of war with the Italian army, Alfredo convinces Salvatore to move on to a better life — out of Giancaldo. When Salvatore finally returns to his hometown thirty years later, his mother sees that her son’s mentor made the correct recommendation, and Salvatore develops a better understanding of Alfredo’s intentions.
If there is one picture that can eschew any personal distaste for subtitles, it is Cinema Paradiso. Twenty minutes into the feature, you forget that you are even required to read. That is proof in itself that Cinema Paradiso is entrancing enough to appeal to all crowds. However, the bona-fide cinema connoisseurs will undoubtedly take the most pleasure in this Italian paradise.