This appealing and charming valentine to movies captures and conveys the enchantments, escapes, and enslavements of those who are mesmerized by films. This Italian drama, which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1989 and a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, depicts the interplay between movies and life.
Young Salvatore (Salvatore Cascio) is filled with wide-eyed wonder at the images he sees on the screen at the Cinema Paradiso in the small Sicilian town where he lives. He revels in the antics of the townsfolk as they share the communal experience of watching movies. He marvels at the diligence of the pious priest who cuts out all the kissing scenes. Best of all, he becomes an apprentice to Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), the projectionist at the Paradiso.
Writer and director Giuseppe Tornatore hits high stride in the presentation of Salvatore's tormenting first love affair and his return to the town as a middle-ager for the funeral of his beloved mentor and surrogate father Alfredo. Philippe Noiret gives an emotionally affecting performance as this gentle man who passes on his wisdom to a young boy. Cinema Paradiso abounds with delights and has an emotional undertow that elicits only good feelings.