Cinema Paradiso (Nuovo Cinema Paradiso) Reviews
I'm fine with sentimentalism... just not phony sentimentalism. I really, really dislike this movie.
(the shorter version) The score is magnificent. Completely empty melodrama with brilliant music.
Let this film be a test to separate the sound film reviewers from the lightweights. I truly believe that any person who can come to post a negative review of this film is an utter fool of cinema. They should return to the pool of manufactured Hollywood commodity product and never return to international cinema.
People who love cinema will likely enjoy this very much. How film critics, film professors, normal movie goers, etc. got interested in movies can be a very nostalgic memory to think about. That's why I was interested in seeing this movie as its plot showed some promise. It was a pretty good experience watching it.
After a famous filmmaker named Salvatore "Toto" Di Vita gets a call that a friend of his as a child named Alfredo died, he recalls his childhood. The film shows how he got into film, how he became friends with Alfredo, a theater projectionist, and other things he experienced as a child while growing up.
His friendship with Alfredo continued to grow throughout the film. At first, he didn't like his presence and tried to get rid of him. However, as the film continued on, he began to value his company. Their friendship was very interesting. Since Toto's father wasn't with him, and since he supposedly died in the war, he looked up to him as a father figure, and he viewed the theater as his mother. If his mother were to tell him not to visit Alfredo anymore, he would disobey her, and continue to do it. This was an interesting way to show how movies were a very big part of his life.
The part of the film where he bonded with Alfredo was the best part of the movie. It is full of delightful touches such as Toto stealing a frame of film behind Alfredo's back or Toto helping him cheat on an exam so he'll let him back into the projectionist booth. The movie theater is displayed almost as a centerpiece where everyone would like going to it late at night to be entertained. The people who go to them are interesting. There are people who always sigh when a kissing scene is censored out of the film by order of the priest. Also, there is a man who only goes to the theaters to fall asleep, causing the kids to wake him up. After the viewer sees how unruly the crowd can be, it makes them wonder how they'd really act is the movie were to ever show a kissing scene. Also, the first act ends with a memorable scene where Alfredo projects the movie onto a wall outside the theater so a group of people can watch the film even after the theater closes. What follows that is a scene which is a perfect way to end the film. I won't spoil it though, because it's best to see it come as a surprise.
After that, the film moves forward 10 years into the future to show Toto as an older teen. The movie still manages to maintain its charming moments such as the scene where 2 boys are told to stop touching themselves by their father after the theater finally shows a kissing scene, only for him to do it a bit as well. Also, there's a scene where Toto is having trouble getting a movie to start. The people in the audience grow anxious to watch it. One person tries to tell everyone the plot to the film as he's already seen it before right as someone drops something on his head from above to get him to stop. These are many delightful touches which makes the viewer really like the lovable audience, despite how unruly they are. These comedic touches help the film, because they give the viewer extra reasons to enjoy the film.
However, the main part of the 2nd act is to build a relationship between Toto and a girl he loves named Elena. This isn't necessarily a bad thing for movies to do as it could give them further charm. However, I really didn't care for the scenes with her. This was the part of the movie where it started to feel a little cheesy and schmaltzy. I felt like some of the scenes from their relationship were a bit corny. One scene was where he waited outside Elena's house every night, hoping for her to change her mind as she said that she didn't love him when he originally asked her. He did this to imitate something that Alfredo told him in a short fantasy story he heard once. The story didn't sound all that bad when Alfredo said it. However, what works in one medium might not necessarily work in another. If someone were to do that in real life, it would look disturbing. There were a couple other scenes that I didn't like as well. However, I think that the biggest issue I had with their relationship was that while it didn't appeal to me, it also took a lot of Alfredo's screen time out of the movie. If the romance sub-plot was done very well, I might not have had an issue with it in limiting Alfredo's screen time, but since it wasn't done very well, it obstructed the movie's impact on me even more.
In conclusion, this was a very great film well worth my time. The relationship between Toto and Alfredo was done very well. The theater scenes had charm to them, and they provided some brief comedic relief at times. It managed to keep this throughout the majority of the flashbacks. Even though the romance sub-plot didn't appeal to me, I still liked this film a lot. Once you get to the very end, the famous final scene lets you walk away from the film in a positive manner by showing you a well-done montage. Overall, this was a pretty nice movie which I thoroughly enjoyed.