Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Directed by Guiseppe Tornatore

Starring Philippe Noiret, Jacques Perrin, Antonella Attilli

I first saw this movie at the university, I was taking an Italian class and we saw this movie in the class. I loved it, it had a nice story and as background to the story, there were the movies. Winning the 1990 Oscar for Best foreign language film and deservingly so.

The story begins with Salvatore’s mother calling him trying to reach him. Salvatore arriving late wakes his girlfriend and she tells him that his mother called to tell him Alfredo died. As he lies in bed he starts looking back at his childhood in Sicily. We first see him as a little kid living with his mother and sister while his father was in the war. He loved movies and sneaks upstairs to the projection room where he forms a special relationship with Alfredo who works in the theater. When a fire leaves Alfredo blind young Salvatore to replace him. After this, the movie jumps to Salvatore now in high school and still projecting films. He falls in love and leaves for war and when he returns Elena is nowhere to be found and Alfredo tells him to leave and never come back.

This movie has a special place in my memory because I had so much fun n that Italian class and the people I took the class with. I can relate to the character as he returns to Sicily after years and the bittersweet feeling of returning to a special place. For me, it was the university and sometimes I go there and as I walk I remember so many moments and so people and, in the background, there was the music I listened to and the films of those times. Movies I saw with friends the songs that were the soundtracks of those times.

This is such a beautiful coming of age story and as a movie lover like the Salvatore, it speaks to me. I think this is one of those movies that means more now than when I saw it when I was younger. As it tells the story of growing up and the memories of those who left a mark in our lives.

I think this is one film every movie fan should see. It has a good story and good performances. I am glad I was able to see it again and remember those simpler times just like Salvatore at the end.

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