Saturday, July 23, 2011

REVIEW: Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Starring: Salvatore Cascio, Philippe Noiret

A sentimental and even tragic tale of an Italian boy named Toto who grew up in the 50s with a burning passion for movie projecting. He befriends the kindly elder man who runs the theater, and the movie chronicles his life growing up in Italy, through the good times and the bad. This is a very wholesome and light-hearted tale, with a lot of romantic movie-esque things going on even when the characters claim that real life isn't like the movies. The acting is memorable and the story flows quickly and admirably. There isn't a dull moment, from the early days when Toto is a boy to his teenage years, and even to the denouement as he comes back as an adult in the present time. I like how this film manages to be both happy and sad at the same time. I think that’s really the core of why it works. That happy-sad mixture it evokes is sort of the core of nostalgia, which really is the big thing this movie is going for.

The whole film pretty much revolves around the titular movie theater, which goes through lots of changes and pretty much runs concurrent with what's going on in Toto's life. It's a story about growing up, as played out as that might sound, and nostalgia, too. The film spins a yarn about experiencing life and reaching one's potential, the juxtaposition between doing what you love versus becoming successful. But really what this is is just a great, lighthearted and fun film for anyone. Recommended.