“Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world”
- Jean-Luc Godard, French filmmaker
There are very few films which raise the bar of cinema as the best artistic medium among all others and ‘Cinema Paradiso’ has made a permanent entry into that special category of the world cinema.
More than anything ‘Cinema Paradiso’ is Director Giuseppe Tornatore’s tribute to all the great filmmakers’ of the world - Renoir, Visconti, De Sica, Chaplin. You can also call this film the most wonderful tribute to the world of cinema in the true sense of it. The film won number of awards in all major film festivals around the globe including coveted Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
Famous film director Salvatore Di Vita got news from her girlfriend that his mother called to tell him that someone named Alfredo has died. The film than flash back to the time when the director was just six years old kid nicknamed as Toto living with her poor mother & infant sister during the second world war time. Toto is smart, intelligent & mischievous boy discovers his love & passion for cinema & spare his free time at local movie theatre named Cinema Paradiso where develops close friendship with film projectionist named Alfredo. Toto’s world belongs to two things- Alfredo & movies. More than friend Alfredo becomes a father figure to him. He let the boy watched number of films in projection booth. Eventually he taught lot of technical things about movies to Toto.
Eventually one day projection caught fire. Toto saves Alfredo’s life but the fire made him permanently blind. With renovation of a businessman theatre is again re-opens & this time small Toto becomes a projectionist in place of Alfredo.
There is a depth in the scene when Alfredo advices young Salvatore in his own words instead of quoting some Hollywood film stars as often. Infect those are the words which transformed Salvatore’s ordinary life into extraordinary one. When young Salvatore leaves his town the last golden words of Alfredo were- “Whatever you end up doing, Love it.” The scene just shifted into present where middle aged famous Director Salvatore returns to his native to attend Alfredo’s funeral & meets her mother. The camera just rolls over the things which her mother keeps for him. Believe me Tornatore has creates a moment which breaks even strongest heart. It’s not often I cry watching films but the last fifteen minutes of this film is just free fall of tears & I’ll like to let it fall for the wonderful art that we notice.
Both the performance of Salvatore Cascio as a young Toto & Philippe Noiret as Alfredo are the soul & heart of the movie. Ennio Morricone’s background score is one of the most soothing symphony I ever heard.
I would like to give a big hug to Screenplay writer & Director Giuseppe Tornatore for making such a masterpiece.
A Real Diamond & a film you must watch before you die.