Cinema Paradiso – Italy – Available on DVD at Richter Library and on Netflix instant watch
Subtly, in the way that only an unassuming masterpiece can, “Cinema Paradiso” captures the heartwarming magic and illicit excitement of films in this story about a boy growing up in a small town in Sicily.
Traditional in its use of mechanisms such as flashbacks and symbolism, the film concretizes hope by rustically carving the hero’s journey without pretenses of manipulation.
One toothy smile from the mischievous boy, Toto, is enough to turn over your complete trust to this movie. Director Giuseppe Tornatore manages to unveil the invisible charm hidden in the quotidian with utter sincerity.
The magic is in not overstating the emotions, but rather illustrating them indirectly. Like the white words on the black screen that discreetly but vitally translate the characters’ speech in the silent films, Ennio Morricone’s beloved score speaks where there are no words.
The film’s comforting completeness makes it universal and timeless: as easily enjoyed in the morning as it is before sleeping. If you have seen it, find someone who has not, and if you have not, then rediscover this jewel with someone who has.