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Cinema Paradiso

Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore

Italy, 1988

Cornerhouse, 15 December 2013

Cinema Paradiso

This is in a way another film about World War Two and its aftermath.

It is a beautiful film, touching upon life and art, friendship and love, ambition and calling, the village that forms you and the city where your destiny lies – amongst other things.

The film’s great strength is that it is romantic yet has its eyes wide open: the camera sees all, doesn’t miss a trick.  ‘All’ here would include: the social divisions of the village and the way (e.g.) that the left-winger is always left standing in the square and never hired, the loveless life of the mature Salvatore and his estrangement from his mother.  There’s an homage to Peeping Tom.

Enzo Cannavale’s performance as Alfredo, the projectionist who becomes an avuncular presence in Salvatore’s life when his father doesn’t return, is outstanding.  The lad Salvatore – talkative, loud, always answering back – is a delight.

Anyhow, a classic film – and one can see clearly now how much Travelling Light, the National Theatre’s play of a few years back, owes to it.