Director:Guiseppe Tornatore Italy 1988 PG 155mins
A heartfelt review from Sydney Bayley:
As the title suggests, this is a film about cinema and a celebration of its magic. It’s one you have to see. You should be warned that you may well cry because it is very moving, in a good way. It is a story told in flashback, of a famous director who returns to his boyhood home, in Sicily, and explores how he fell in love with cinema and learned about film-making through his relationship with the projectionist in the local cinema. The projectionist is a father figure who stands in for the father the boy does not have. There is a thwarted teenage love story that works out in the end. It’s full of great film clips.
The film is directed by Guiseppe Tornatore, who is a Sicilian himself, and he wrote the screenplay so, who knows, maybe is is autobiographical, in some way. The projectionist is played, interestingly, by a Frenchman, Phillipe Noiret, whose career in French cinema lasted from 1949 until his death in 2006 but it was Cinema Paradiso that brought him international acclaim. There is a score by Ennio Morricone, who wrote for Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns.
Cinema Paradiso won the 1989 Jury prize at Cannes and an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. In 2007, Guardian readers voted it the best foreign film ever made. If you love cinema, do not miss this showing.