Cinema Paradiso, 1988

Posted: January 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

This clip in the movie Cinema Paradiso directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, shows the scene in which there was an angry group of people demanding to watch the film they were playing in the town’s theatre. Cinema Paradiso was closing its theatre for the night and a cluster of people still had not watched the movie. The problem was that Cinema Paradiso was the only theatre in town and watching movies was one of the only forms of entertainment that these people had. In order to solve the problem of the frustrated townspeople, Alfredo, played by Philippe Noiret, turned the film on. In this magical scene, Alfredo rolled the film outside using a stranger’s home as the background. Not only does this scene successfully represent Salvatore Di Vita’s (played by Jacques Perrin) passion for movies, it also shows the love the people of Giancaldo, Sicily have for films as well. As soon as the film appeared on the man’s home, the Sicilian people cheered and were thrilled to watch the movie.

One of the most important themes in this movie is love. Love occurs repeatedly throughout the film in a variety of ways. The first love that the audience is able to see is the love that Salvatore (a.k.a. Toto) has for film and what goes into making a film. There are various examples when Toto shows his love for movies such as when he constantly sneaks into Alfredo’s workspace even when his mother deliberately said he was not allowed there. Despite his mother forbidding him to go to the theatre and Alfredo kicking him out multiple times, Toto’s love for movies brought him back to Cinema Paradiso. He even took the money his mother gave him to buy groceries and instead bought a ticket to a movie. Another love that developed in Salvatore’s life was the love he felt towards Alfredo and also the love Alfredo had for Toto. In the movie, the audience learns that Toto’s father is away at war and eventually died in battle. Alfredo acts as a father-figure for Toto and the connection they develop is one that is very special. At first, Alfredo believes that Toto is just an annoying pest and is always following him around as he works. However, as they spend more time together and as Alfredo sees how much Toto is in love with movies, they both form a strong love for each other. Another love revealed in the film is the love he feels for a girl named Elena. At this point in the movie, Salvatore has grown into a young man, perhaps in his late teens. During their time together, the audience sees Toto woo and win the heart of Elena. Salvatore even makes a bold decision to stand outside of Elena’s window every night until she relents. Unfortunately for the couple, Elena’s father did not approve of their relationship and her family moved away.

 Toto’s love of movies

 Alfredo and Toto

 Toto and Elena

Another theme in the movie is censorship. The town’s priest would watch the movies before they were played in Cinema Paradiso and would ring a bell at the parts he felt were inappropriate. Alfredo then had to cut that part of the movie out and skip straight to the next scene. The problem that seemed to occur over and over again was the parts in the movie when two people kiss. Every time that part in the movie was shown, the priest would throw his hand up and ring the bell. This is definitely interesting considering that many of today’s movies contain various sexual scenes and actions that are considerably more provocative then what was seen in this film. The people of the town felt that censorship took away from the movie and one man even said he had not seen two people kiss in a movie in over twenty years. These people even cheered when a movie finally showed a kissing scene.

 Priest with his bell


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