This multi award-winning homage to the love of cinema tells
the story of Salvatore, a successful film director, returning
to his home village for the funeral of Alfredo, his old friend
who was projectionist at the local cinema throughout his childhood.
On learning of Alfredo's death, Salvatore makes the painful
decision to return to the village that he left so many years
before. The film is told in flashback, with Salvatore remembering
his time with Alfredo as well as his first love affair with
the beautiful Elena. All the highs and lows that shaped his
life come flooding back, as Salvatore reconnects with the
community he left 30 years earlier...
Paradiso (or Nuovo Cinema Paradiso as it is known
in it's native Italy) was originally released in 1989.
The movie was written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore and
reflects his love affair with the cinema, and frustration
with how almost overnight people stopped going to the cinema,
leaving most town's with empty buildings that were once packed
with paying customers.
today you can go into any UK town and pick out the building
that was once the cinema. It wasn't until recently with more
modern multiplexes built on the outskirts of town, that the
movie industry has started to thrive again. It could be argued
that Alfredo represents the old cinema industry. He is a popular
member of the community and has a stable job until the introduction
of the TV - at which point he looses his sight and becomes
useless - and there is also the fact that Alfredo dies a few
days before the demolition of his old workplace is due to
originally saw this movie in the early '90s while at University
and was incredibly moved by the story. I heard that there
had been a "Director's Cut" released years ago,
but never managed to get around to buying it. I'm almost always
disappointed by "Director's Cut" releases - they
very rarely add anything that important to the original movie.
And, in some cases, they merely put back in a lot of rubbish
that should have stayed on the cutting room floor.
I watched the standard version of the movie to refresh my
memory - again a lump came into my throat and I got all misty
eyed all over again (something that very rarely happens to
me with movies these days). And then I settled down to the
Director's Cut, expecting to see a lot of extended
scenes - some that would add to the movie, while others would
detract. Boy was I in for a shock. The movie rattled through
with hardly any additional scenes and I was starting to wander
what was going on. Where were the extra scenes? There was
an extended segment when the new Neapolitan boss of the cinema
has to run a movie in two cinema in order to meet demand;
and there is a scene with the teenage Toto losing his virginity
to the village prostitute... and that seemed about it.
But, the additional material is included once the adult Toto
comes home for Alfredo's funeral.
Paradiso is unusually in that the version most people
will know is actually not the original theatrical release
in Italy. It was only when the movie was sold overseas that
a shorter version was cut together to make it more accessible
to a wider audience. Personally I'm glad of this, because
it has allowed me to rediscover a totally new movie from the
one I originally fell in love with. The standard edition has
a whole chapter of the original tale torn out of it. In the
original version of the movie (the Director's Cut)
Salvatore manages to find out what happened to the one true
love of his life and confront her. Why did she not keep their
last appointment? Why did she not write to him and tell him
where she had moved to? All these questions are answered in
the Director's Cut of the movie. It also throws new
light on certain elements of the movie that you had taken
for granted - characters whom you thought were one thing suddenly
seem to become something else entirely.
of this, the viewer is like Salvatore - oblivious to the actions
of a character/s whom you thought you knew. For years you've
felt one way, and now you realise that other things actually
happened that you had no idea about. For me this was like
rediscovering the movie all over again. I thought I knew the
story, but I only knew half of it. Now I know the whole truth
and it was an amazing experience for me as a fan of the standard
version of the movie.
include Giuseppe Tornatore: A Dream of Sicily (52 mins
featurette looking and the career of the director); A Bear
and a Mouse in Paradise (27 mins featurette which features
recent interviews with Tornatore, the late Philippe Noiret
and Salvatore Cascio); The Kissing Scene (7 mins featurette
that includes the final scene from the movie and breaks down
each kiss so that we now know which film the clips were taken
from and which actors are seen kissing); Trailer for the American
theatre release of the Director's Cut of the movie;
and a stills gallery set to music from the film.
four disc collection could easily have been squeezed onto
three discs (with the extras split across the two DVDs containing
the movies). The
fourth disc contains Ennio Morricone's wonderful score. While
I bought the original soundtrack years ago, I can't comment
on the quality or track listing in this collection as we were
not sent the disc with the soundtrack on with our review discs.
If it's identical to the original soundtrack release then
it's well worth owning.
is one box set that everyone who claims to be a movie lover
should have in their collection. Arrow Films certainly know
how to put together a first rate package.