It is quite simply the story of a human life and it's tragedies and triumphs within the context of a vocation. His friendship with and advice to young Salvatore proves to be more than the boy could have ever dreamed about. After we first viewed the 123 min version, there wasn't a single person in my class that wasn't amazed by what they had just seen. The performances are all fantastic--especially by the gorgeous young actor playing Salvatore as a teenager. Though love and Toto's relationship with Elena are involved, they aren't the focus of the 123 min version. Good acting from remaining cast , just like Antonella Attili , Enzo Cannavale , Leopoldo Triestre , Agnese Nano , Pupella Maggio, among others.
Sadly, the 170 min director's cut version taints the beauty and magic of the 123 min version of Cinema Paradiso, and that is one treasure that should never be lost. Some people complain that the 123 min version leaves a lot unanswered, but the beauty of it is that it doesn't matter. I share the lives of Toto and Alfredo, the small Sicilian boy, who loses his father in the second world war, and the older man who runs the projector at the local cinema. Director Giuseppe Tornatore placed himself in the list of the best directors. Phillipe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio give the kind of performances usually associated with much more recognizable actors.
Toto lives in a world of make believe, movies, adventure. . He's born in a tiny Italian village and we see him as a little boy in the 1930s, an adolescent in the 40s-50s and an adult in the 80s. I too often found them annoying and ridiculous especially Toto to have any real emotional bonds with anyone. Music is more happy than melancholic and I could probably compose something more touching.
I tend to keep such people at arms length and maintain a wary eye fixed upon them at all times. The director of the movie, Giuseppe Tornatore, went on to make other great visual films, two of which I also like: Malena and The Star Maker. It is an amazing story of the magic of film and the cinema, highlighted by great performances and some of the most beautiful cinematography I have ever seen. The actors played their parts, but with such inconsistent overdubbing, I felt for none of them. The way emotions captured in a camera is way beyond naturality.
I know it's tempting to watch the director's cut, but this is one occasion where you shouldn't indulge your curiosity. The location shots add depth and realism to the entire production. Their love of film bonds them for life. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I am saying this because I viewed both versions of Cinema Paradiso in my film class 123 min. Second, in spite of the first problem, this film has huge story gaps that took place as a result of massive editing as I understand it, this film was originally well over three hours. This weeper picture was very well directed by Giuseppe Tornatore.
The theme of the movie that is, maturing and allowing yourself to move on with your life, as opposed to the pretty picture movies portray is admirable and comprehensible. The standard hollywood treatment would made a completely happy ending, our hero gets together with the girl now woman of his heart; continues his successful movie career; his mentor remains flawless, and somehow restores the old town's spiritual heart. A famous film director remembers his childhood at the Cinema Paradiso where Alfredo, the projectionist, first brought about his love of films. No matter how many times we see this film. I continue to be moved and deeply touched by this beautiful film from Italy, and I never tire of watching it. However, there are some major problems that overwhelm this strength.
There are very few films that I consider to be near-perfect, but the 123 min version of Cinema Paradiso has made that list. There was a real sense of passion missing. Like many who have posted at this site before me I have seen it many many times. The use of the theater location as a conection between characters through out the years is magnificently done. It is a powerfully emotional film, but, sadly, this level of emotion is lost in the director's cut.
A staggering triumph of both the cinematic art and of story telling and yet there may be found people who do not like this movie. In the end you crave for that initial sense of magic and emotion the 123 min version provided to come back, but for some it is all too late. It turns out to be a somewhat tragic love story. Movies can wield a strange power over those who sit in the darkened seats of a theatre. The character of Alfredo is one of the most unforgettable characters. At the very least, if you must watch the director's cut, I urge you, no, I implore you, to make sure you watch the 123 min version first.