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DVD Reviews: Cinema Paradiso (Italian Language Film)

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Reviewed by Alex Cuming
Review Date: 03 June 2003
Distributed by:
Magna Pacific
Running Time: 100 Minutes

After a relatively slow start where there is the threat of hitting fast forward and at times stopping this Italian film is one of the greatest testaments to true love.  If you are in a relationship or have been in the past, this poignant film will swoon even the most hardened hearts.  It is about the life of a boy growing up in an Italian town with great influence by the church and finding true love and pursuing it with every step he takes.  

This extraordinary occurrence strikes at the soul of every human being with a heart.  It will challenge your life and will draw you in like never a film before it.  Toto, the main character first starts off working under a father-like figure Alfredo in a cinema called Cinema Paradiso.  After Toto being neglected by his father, Toto sees this and concludes how important relationships are in and outside families. Alfredo takes on the role of father figure and it is with his guidance, Toto learns how to be a projectionist.  Toto’s passion for his job was like no other and it was only until he discovered something better, women.  Particularly a girl named Elena who, as mentioned, he falls head over heals with. With persistence and obvious influence from cinema he wins his true love and all seems to be going well until her parents decide for her to marry another man.  After the realisation of this tragic occurrence Toto heart is darkened and when his mentor recognises this he tells him to leave the town and never look back.  Toto pursues his childhood dream of making films and does so for thirty years until he receives a phone call from his mother, urging him to come home.  “What for?” you may ask well watch it and you’ll find out for yourself! 

The film Cinema Paradiso will enchant the audience and will educate through story telling and connection with the audience.  It will make you cry, laugh and never want the film to end.  Which is a good thing because the film is 170 minutes in length, long enough to have an impact.  The subtitles do not subtract from the effect of the film and it can be gathered what the characters are feeling, even though it is in a different language. The Italian Language is a romantic language and the way they speak communicates extremely well to the audience.  The rising inflections in the voices, the body language and the pacing of the subtitles are done to greater effect than many European films. 

The soundtrack by Ennio Morricone is also done well and is faithful to the subject matter.  The sound is all in Dolby 5.1 and if you speak Italian this will greatly, amplify the effect of the film making it that much better. The Extras are informative and provide ample background for the actors, directors and writers.  Also there is some history about the master composer of emotive, profound, movies Ennio Morricone who also wrote some brilliant music for “The Mission” along with many others. 

CP has many profound moments that will make you laugh or cry.  The magic of the film is kept intact even with subtitles.  The script is punchy, witty and done with certain finesse.  The characters are never without meaning and will make you think about others lives as well as your own.  An excellent choice for couples.

Cinema Paradiso Features

  • Cast and Crew Biographies

  • Directors Filmography

  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Umbrella Trailers

  • Motion menus

  • Scene Access


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