1988 - Dir.: Guiseppe Tomatore
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on March 23rd, 2002
Programme notes are almost superfluous for this month's top of the bill. The following quote from an American critic says it all:
"If you love movies, it's impossible not to appreciate "Cinema Paradiso", Giuseppe Tornatore's heart-warming, nostalgic look at one man's love affair with film, and the story of a very special friendship. Affecting (but not cloying) and sentimental (but not sappy), "Cinema Paradiso" is the kind of motion picture that can brighten up a gloomy day and bring a smile to the lips of the most taciturn individual. Light and romantic, this fantasy is tinged with just enough realism to make us believe in its magic, even as we are enraptured by its spell. This film is sometimes funny, sometimes joyful, and sometimes poignant, but it's always warm, wonderful, and satisfying."
The film was made in the director's home village of Bagheria on the island of Sicily, many of the locals appear as extras and bit part players and the story is thought to be part autobiographical. The distributors are issuing a "Director's Cut"* version this summer (2002) - with 45 minutes of unseen material added. It's hard to see how this will improve what many consider to be an almost perfect film. The music is by Ennio Moriconne - taking a break from spaghetti westerns and epics to prove that he capable of a more lyrical approach.
*Released in the USA at 170 minutes but never seen in the UK