I expected to hate Cinema Paradiso a few minutes in. I’m not sure what it was. Perhaps the “ain’t-I-a-stinker” grin of Salvatore Cascio, playing young ‘Toto,’ the film’s protagonist? Or maybe it was the syrupy silliness of early scenes involving an exasperated priest censoring films of any “pornographic” kissing scenes.
Little by little, the film won me over. Cinema Paradiso is steeped in sentimentality to the point of schmaltz, constructed as a sine wave of feel-good into feel-bad moments. Nonetheless its emotion resonates thanks to sweeping, sunny cinematography and a moving score from Ennio Morricone. By the time an outdoor cinematic presentation took a dramatic turn, I was convinced. When the conclusion arrived, with ‘Toto’ – Salvatore – now a successful director filled with nostalgia and regret, watching those “pornographic” clippings, it was impossible to not be moved.
Sentimentality is so often reduced to sappy drivel or audience manipulation. But Cinema Paradiso demonstrates that raw, unfiltered emotion isn’t anything to be belittled when executed with such talent. This love letter to film understands that movies are truly successful when they surpass plot and character and cinematography to connect on a fundamental, emotional level with their audience – as Cinema Paradiso did with me.
9 thoughts on “Cinema Paradiso (1988)”
I haven’t seen this but it’s been on my list for ages.
Yeah I’ve owned the DVD for years without watching it as well. Glad I finally decided to watch it!
You haven’t seen this, Abbi? Well then I recommend it. I recommend it before all the other things I’ve recommended to you! Lol. I mean, I named my blog after it. It’s GOOD. 🙂
I never realised that was the pun!
Now you know! 😉
Nice review! I was a little worried at the start of the review but I’m glad it won you over in the end. Probably my all-time favorite movie ending. Yes, I think it was number one on my list of favorite endings… So lovely. 🙂
Thanks. Where’s your list of favourite film endings? I should check that out if I haven’t already…
I wouldn’t normally go linking to my blog on someone else’s site but, since you asked… 😉
It’s an old post so maybe a little dodgy. I didn’t know how to blog yet! (Still don’t, really) 🙂
Thanks for the link 🙂