Cinema Paradiso

Last Sunday I saw, for the 100th time, one of my favorite movies: Cinema Paradiso. It’s simply one of the most beautiful movies of all time, one of those that easily becomes the movie of your life.

It’s the story of a young boy (Toto) fascinated by the town’s little movie theater and eventually became a friend of it’s projectionist, more like a father/son relationship.
Alfredo, the projectionist, it’s one of the wisest characters of movie history. That kind of character that has seen it all throughout is life and has that hidden thing that’s always waiting to come out from his head; just like these:

Living here day by day, you think it’s the center of the world. You believe nothing will ever change.
Then you leave: a year, two years.
When you come back, everything’s changed. The thread’s broken.
What you came to find isn’t there. What was yours is gone.
You have to go away for a long time… many years… before you can come back and find your people.
The land where you were born.
But now, no. It’s not possible.
Right now you’re blinder than I am.

(…)

Don’t come back any more,
don’t think about us,
don’t turn round,
don’t write,
don’t give in to nostalgia.

Forget us all.
If you can’t hear it and come back,
don’t come looking for me,
I won’t let you into the house,
you understand?

Il_Nuovo_Cinema_Paradiso.jpg

Often I think how bad this movie would be if it was filmed in the US…
Probably it would be fitted in a blockbuster formula, adapted to a Midwest town in the middle of nowhere and much less interesting than the post WWII sicillian town of Giancaldo.

Forgive me all americans that may see this post, but italians can put a kind of charm in a movie that you can’t see in mainstream americand films. That kind of charm that the odd things look funny, not goofy or stupid but just like that: charming. This one is another fine example…
In no american movie you would see a bunch of kids wacking in the first row or a guy that regularly spits from the balcony to the crowd, other than American Pie kind of movies.

[Spoiler warning – don’t read the rest if you haven’t seen the movie]

In an americam movie Toto, now a famous filmmaker, would return to his hometown, would meet his friend one more time Alfredo just before his death, would save the town’s little theatre from demolition and would find his former teenager girlfriend love…

But it’s not an american movie and Toto, despite being a powerful man, can’t save things from it’s fate and, just like most of us, ends up with his memories and nothing else.

And no american movie can even match the intensity of that final scene of Cinema Paradiso!

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