Let’s start off the week with another lovely guest review for Resolutions, shall we? Today’s write-up is coming your way from reigning Shitfest champ the awesome Miss Abbi of Where the Wild Things Are! I’m sure you guys have been by Abbi’s site before, which is an awesome mix of movie reviews, recipes, fashion pics, the best top 10 lists you’ll find on the interwebz, and so much more, but if you haven’t been over there, you need to change that pronto. Any ol’ who, here’s her resolution choice!
I’ve been meaning to watch Cinema Paradiso for about a year since I revealed to the lovely Table 9 Mutant, who named her blog, Cinema Parrot Disco, that I hadn’t seen it. Eep! So when it came to picking a resolution film for this year’s blogathon it seemed like the perfect choice.
When famous Italian filmmaker, Salvatore ‘Toto’ Di Vita (Jacques Perrin) discovers that his mentor, Alfredo (Philippe Noiret) has died he goes on a journey back in time to his childhood in the sleepy town of Giancaldo, which he hasn’t visited in thirty years.
We start off with Toto (Salvatore Cascio) as a small, high-spirited boy torn between his mother’s desire for him to be an altar boy and his obsession with the movies. While his mother (Antonella Attili) struggles to make ends meet after the disappearance of Toto’s father in the war, Toto spends his time trying to convince the town projectionist, Alfredo, to let him into the projection booth of the Cinema Paradiso. Alfredo is initially reluctant but he sees a natural talent in Toto and eventually allows him to help against his mother’s wishes. When a terrible accident occurs destroying the theatre and incapacitating Alfredo, the whole village will need to come together to rebuild their primary source of entertainment, with Toto at the forefront.
As Toto (Marco Leonardi) grows up, falls in love and starts to experiment with his own films, he needs Alfredo more than ever – if for no other reason than to encourage him to spread his wings and fly.
There is nothing particularly unique or innovative in the telling of this simple tale of a boy discovering and following his passion but writer/director, Giuseppe Tornatore manages to create something truly magical. Giancarlo is packed with interesting characters from the censorship obsessed priest, to the civil servant who spits on the peasant cinema goers, to the wannabe gangster, the vagrant who thinks he owns the town centre and everyone in between. Paired with the simple beauty of the town, Giancarlo becomes a fully realised world and its hard not to feel like part of it.
I loved the boy who played Toto as a child, managing to make him cheeky and charming but never obnoxious and his relationship with Alfredo was so heartwarming. I loved that the whole town was focused around the cinema and that there were riots when they couldn’t get into the theatre to see the latest films. Of course this is all back-dropped by a damaged Italy, desperately trying to survive after its defeat in WWII, impoverished and politically confused, all of which Tornatore subtly works into the story without ever distracting from its focus on the love of cinema.
If you, like most readers of my blog, are cinema obsessed Cinema Paradiso is a must-see and one you are almost guaranteed to enjoy. Unlike last year (First Blood AKA Rambo) this one is a resolution I am very glad I fulfilled.
Thanks so much, Abbi! Hey, don’t tell Mutant, but…I haven’t seen this yet. Sounds like I need to, huh? Well, I’ll get around to it one day. Just as long as she doesn’t know I haven’t seen it then I’m–oh. Um. Hey, Mutant. Wh-what are we talking about? Um. I…HEY LOOK, IT’S CHRIS HEMSWORTH!!! *runs away*