Weekend Round-Up – Cinema Paradiso Review
We are a day late but here is the Weekend Round-Up from this Bank Holiday Weekend with Cinema Paradiso and Down Terrace.
This weekend was the last 3 day weekend in UK before Christmas. This pretty much is the signal for the end of Summer. The kids are back at school for the new term in a weeks time and the nights are starting to draw in. The question has to be again from this year…
Where the Hell did Summer go?
I honestly thought that after the coldest Winter that I can remember, (maybe that is because I had a job back then where I stood outside for 8 hours a day) I really thought that we were set for a heat wave of a Summer. But yet again this year we have been waiting for the good weather to come and never arrive. We got a three-day hot spell, so I guess I have to be thankful for that one hey?
One good thing about going into September is that we will be having our first Family Holiday abroad for many years. We still haven’t booked yet, doing a last-minute booking. Quite exciting!!
Anyway onto this weekend, apart from some deft Daddy skills in teaching my eldest to ride her bike it was a very mellow affair. When it comes to the viewing schedule in FRC Towers we had the classic and heart warming Cinema Paradiso on Friday and Saturday found us finally watching the Ben Wheatley film, Down Terrace. Below is my review of Cinema Paradiso, but I am not going to try to fit both films in this post as I loved them both, but for very different reasons. So for now…
[imdb]tt0095765[/imdb] TITLE – [imdb:title] YEAR – [imdb:year] DIRECTOR – [imdb:director] CAST – [imdb:cast] WRITERS – Giuseppe Tornatore
I have wanted to see this film for a very long time and when it arrived via LOVEFiLM last week I was a pretty happy bunny. I decided that Friday night was going to be our weekly world cinema night and put the question out on twitter, Cinema Paradiso or Chungking Express? The answer was a pretty resounding ‘Cinema Paradiso’, with the added comments of that I would be smiling the whole way through. I have to agree I found this a very warm and beautiful experience (the film I mean not the twitter responses)
Here is the opening…
When successful Film director Salvatore receives a phone call informing him of the passing of his old friend ‘Alfredo’, his mind goes hurtling back over his childhood in the desolate town of Giancaldo. Amazingly, and maybe it is because of his profession, he manages to remember his whole childhood in complete and perfect order.
Guiseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso is a film about love, friendship, fatherhood, romance and the reality of irreversible change. The beauty of this film is that it does all this and also shows us a stunning appreciation of Film and Cinema as well, without ever being preachy or sickly sweet.
We as the viewer travel with Salvatore, or Toto, through 3 segments of his life in flash back. Firstly, as a small child in Giancaldo, Toto develops an intense love for Film. He tries to find every way he can to get inside Cinema Paradiso, a church that doubles up as a theatre. It becomes the spiritual and emotional home for the entire village. But Toto’s real desire is to get into the projection booth. His first attempt annoys Alfredo the hard working projectionist, but he does manage to secure a deal for the discarded romantic cuttings from the feature films. These were deemed as pornographic by the local Priest, thus being censored and cut out.
With a combination of charm and persistence Toto manages to strike up a kind of ‘surrogate father’ friendship with Alfredo and the two become inseparable. Eventually Toto grows into a young man and falls in love with a local girl, filmed from a far by the now budding film maker. A series of events transpire to change all of this, and change the village as a whole. This upsets Toto greatly and Alfredo encourages him to leave the village and strike out on his own. Which he does. When eventually Toto, or as he is called now Salvatore, returns to Giancaldo he discovers that even more changes have occurred and realizes that you cannot prevent this change with time or space!
Cinema Paradiso is effectively a story about change. And more importantly the fact that you cannot change past events once they have occurred. But there is also a lot of magic too, namely the magic of Film. This celebration of Cinema is the vehicle that drives the story along and helped it to win the Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1989.
Tornatore manages to draw out utterly believable and stunning performances from the entire cast, with arguably the greatest performance by a child actor ever, the result is a totally engaging and engrossing. The camera work excels itself from scene to scene in finding more and more beautiful settings, which manage observe everything pitch-perfectly.
Yes, Cinema Paradiso is sentimental. But Tornatore pushes the button just the correct amount of times to make us smile and wonder and not reach for the sick bags.
This is a film that invites you in, allows you to pull up a chair by the fire, and hits you with a feeling that you find so familiar that you will think this is a story of your life. With all of its beautiful characters, its subtleness, its lovely musical score and its love affair with Cinema and Film, it really felt like you were watching something really special. The ending is so well orchestrated that you cannot help but put a huge smile on your face.
Cinema Paradiso is a true classic.
Down Terrace Review to follow….
Have you seen Cinema Paradiso? What about the Summer, done anything nice? Comment below…