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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 26 March 2007
Originally released in 1988 Cinema Paradiso , is a hymn to love .Not just the love of a man for a woman or vice versa , but the love between a boy and an adult and their mutual love for a medium -cinema. It's the sort of subject matter that would normally have me running for the cinema exit so fast that I'd be outside before my chair had flipped up. But persuaded to see this at the cinema at the time by a friend I reluctantly went along. I was completely enraptured .Cinema Paradiso is a sumptuous film , funny, absorbing and moving.

The version I saw all those years ago was the truncated 121 minute rendering, foisted on the audience by a studio who thought American audiences would deem it too long. This they did by cutting off the end of the film thus robbing it of it's real emotional resonance .Even so it ,s still a magnificent movie. The directors cut restores the butchered 51 minutes and is the film as director Giuseppe Tornatore originally envisaged it so it makes more narrative sense .The cut version is wonderful but the directors cut is an absolute masterpiece. Both versions are on this DVD as well as a making of documentary and a CD version of Ennio Morricones sublime soundtrack.

An element of autobiography is surely integrated into the screenplay as Tornatore pays deference to his formative years in a small town in Sicily . Toto( an incredibly cute Salvatore Cascio) is a young altar boy who finds the whole thing a bit of a chore. He prefers to spend his time at the cinema , either watching the movies or harassing the projectionist Alfredo ( Philippe Noiret) His mother is a single parent as they both wait for his father to return from the Russian front and she struggles to contain the boys mischievous ways.

The towns cinema is a central place for the community, packed out for every screening,. Alfredo a believer that everyone should enjoy the magic of cinema even projects a film onto the white wall of a nearby building so all those locked out can see it too. The towns priest acts as a censor , viewing the films before the public and ringing a bell to let Alfredo know that a scene is unsuitable for the communal palate, usually scenes involving kissing .These Toto collects from the projectionist booths floor .

Alfredo and Toto form a bond and he trains the boy in his profession , even a tragic incident with flammable film stock that costs Alfredo dear doesn't destroy their camaraderie. Toto eventually succeeds Alfredo but his head is turned away from his love of cinema for the first time by the arrival of the beautiful Elena ( Agnese Nano) who he struggles to express his love for.

When Toto is called away for National Service he loses touch with Elena and when he returns home Alfredo tells him to leave for ever , to make the most of himself and follow his dreams .So we learn that Toto became a successful film- maker in his own right .But hearing about the death of his boyhood mentor Alfredo causes him to confront his past for the first time. Can he return home for the funeral and face all those memories of lost love and friendship. Here the film becomes a transcendent wallow in nostalgia as Toto re-watches all those snippets of the censored clips from his childhood. This is a scene so powerfully moving it has brought a lump to my throat the size of a golf ball just writing about it .Quite sublime.

A truly inspirational movie that had a dyed in the wool cynic like me gushing like the Trevi Fountain. It deservedly won an Oscar The Palme Dor at Cannes( it actually shared it with "Trop Belle Pour Toi") and a host of BAFTA,s. It's unsurpassed as a monument to lost love and the power and pull of memories , a quite stunning bittersweet cinematic achievement that will never be bettered in my opinion.
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on 2 February 2003
As a film and media studies graduate, you are expected to like everything from Eisenstein to Spielberg, but we all have our favourites. This is mine.
It tells the story of a little Italian boy, who becomes obsessed with film through his inquisitive nature and friendship with the local cinema projectionist. This film tells a beautiful story, in the form of a flashback. Very European in that respect but follows a timeline like any other 'mainstream' picture.
This is the longer version of the film, but it is the way that it was meant to be viewed before it was butchered for overseas video release. Despite this butchering, the film went onto win the 1989 oscar for best Overseas movie.
Johnny Vaughan states " If you don't watch this film on your first date, then your'e not serious about love."
Even if you cannot stand films in foreign languages (this being in Italian), just get this film, the story it tells is so beautiful, that it overcomes this obvious barrier to English Speaking Audiences.
Even if you are not a film lover, like myself, just buy this one movie. I'm sure you'll fall in love with it, like I have
Magnifico!
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on 23 May 2006
This is without doubt the best foreign film I have ever seen, with the possible exception of Das Boot (for which the latter falls into a totally different category anyway). Even if you are not facinated by cinema, don't let this put you off, because the shear quality story, acting, direction and romantic passion drive this film like a beautiful Ferarri. The locations are stunning and the story one of the best ever written. If you aren't really keen on films with subtitles. Please give this one a chance, because if any foreign film can sway you to watch more foreign films it is surely this one. It is nostalgic, romantic, beautiful and above all simply perfect. Buy it or rent it now! You will see what I mean.
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on 29 March 2007
This film is one of my favourites of all time, and I'm glad it's finally been done justice with this... a huge improvement to the picture and sound compared to the previous version, and the extras are fantastic - really informative documentaries and features, and it's almost worth buying just for Morricone's stunning soundtrack!

I can't rate this highly enough, and it's obviously been lovingly put together... recommended to all!
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on 1 July 2007
Many box set deluxe editions are something of a disappointment, the barell being well and truly scraped for a morsel of an extra which will justify the repackaging and re-labelling of a film. Not this one. This edition offers both the original theatrical release, the far superior extended cut, a disc of great extras and the CD of the film's memorable score. The packaging is also quite innovative with a nice double page opening type of thing, not one I have seen before. I really don't think there is anything more to ask for in a de-luxe edition.

In terms of the film, it is masterful and touching with just the right mix of emotion throughout. The film is beautifully shot and the director's eye for detail and attention to the images are evident in almost every shot. The acting is brilliant, especially from the two lead actors.

This package is worth double the price and it is a great presentation of one of the best Italian films ever made.
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on 21 December 2013
`Cinema Paradiso', this new 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release from Arrow Films arrived just before Christmas and what a wonderful Christmas present from the wife that didn't quite make it to the tree! Though the other reviews are useful they are misleading and do not apply to this vastly superior product.Most of you will be familiar with the storyline of this highly acclaimed Italian film. It comes in a two-disc version `The Directors Cut' 170 mins rated Cert 15 on one disc and a 124-minute theatrical cut rated PG version which has the sexual content, removed from the story on the other disc. Also on the Theatrical disc is an excellent selection of extras. Many may find The Directors Cut a bit over long and some of the sexual content, perhaps rather unnecessary to what is a very moving romantic love story set around a cinema in Sicily, in the period just after the war. This release was delayed presumably to allow for a theatrical showing at a few selected Cinemas. The previous UK Blu-ray release of the theatrical cut was only marginally better than the DVD, and I kept my DVD of The Directors Cut pending this release; incidentally I sold it on Amazon the day I listed. The original negatives have had a 2K scan and though the new version is not perfect, there is still a small amount of damage and some of the dark scenes have noticeable grain, but it really looks gorgeous projected on my 8ft screen and a very noticeable improvement on the previous releases. Also the musical score adds to the romance and nostalgia for an age gone forever. Having been to Sicily on holiday this year it was lovely to see the beautiful scenery and the soak up the vista of the typical Sicilian atmospheric villages. This is really an excellent two-disc package that comes with a thirty two-page booklet, which has high repeatability. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves this film and to those few who have never seen it!
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on 27 April 2003
I first saw Cinema Paradiso by chance - I was at Manchester University and a member of the Film Society that put on obscure art house films - having sat through some truly dreadful movies - one particular Japanese film was an epic hell! My expectations were tempered. The hall in the student union had bad plastic seats a fairly small screen with a dreadful sound system. (With hindsight this probably added to the romance of the film Manchester's own version of The Paradiso.)
From the opening credits I was captivated - I now have 1 VHS copy 1 DVD and 1 VHS - Directors Cut - and before that I used to rent it out from the Library.
This film is a masterpiece - every shot makes you believe and feel that you are in that little town.
The music captivates your spirit and will forever be entwined with the images.
For men that believe they should not be seen to cry at a film - do not go as you will fail. I cried for the last half hour of the film - tears rolling down my face - and then for about half an hour afterwards - My new girl friend at the time - who seemed far less affected was incredibly embarrassed - she did not last long!
This film is a full mental regression from youth through puberty and beyond - the directors cut feeds the mind with more detail and tragedy than I could have coped with on the first viewing - but as the blinkers are removed you never want to go back - I love both editions.
This is my favourite film - because it is the Mona Lisa of cinema.
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VINE VOICEon 15 January 2006
"Cinema Paradiso" is perhaps the best film that I have seen dealing with the theme of lost love. It follows the story of the life of a successful, but emotionally unfulfilled film director, "Toto" Di Vita. As a boy he becomes obsessed with the local cinema and forms a close friendship with cranky projectionist Alfredo. Memories of this relationship as well as his romance with first love Elena come flooding back to Toto when he returns to Sicily to attend the projectionist's funeral thirty years after he left the village in which he grew up. "Cinema Paradiso" is a film about love in all its forms; unrequited, lost, romantic and sexual. It is a film about regret, lost opportunities and those fleeting moments that can change the course of a life forever , all set against the background of the cinema and its magical ability to enchant and inspire individuals and communities. Great acting and characterisation, evocative soundtrack and the moving reunion scenes between Toto and Elena thirty years on capture quintessentially the essence of life,love and happiness.
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on 6 October 2009
I wasn't expecting this Blu-ray to be available until January 2010, so you can imagine how surprised I was to see it sitting on the shelf of my local record shop when I rocked in there this lunchtime.

I've just finished watching it and picture quality is good overall, but not the best I've seen amongst older films put onto Blu-ray (not as good as 2001 Space Odyssey, or Kramer -v- Kramer for example). There were a couple of low lit scenes early in the film that looked very muddy and lacking in shadow detail. Light scenes were a mixed bag; sometimes showing lots of detail and sharpness, but sometimes soft and slightly off-focus looking. None of these things distracted me from enjoying the film though. So video quality is not brilliant IMO, but still a lot better than the DVD. BTW I'm watching on a 50" plasma from 9 feet away if that helps.

Sound quality seemed fine to me, but I'm not much of an audio aficionado, so can't say much about that.

This Blu-ray only contains the shortened international release, not the director's cut. Bit of a shame really, as I thought the story presented in the director's cut had much more of an emotional impact. I would have liked to have seen a Blu-ray release with the director's cut (as the story was intended to be shown) or even better, both versions in one edition.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 December 2005
It hardly seems worth writing yet another enthusiastic review of this marvellous film, but I like it so much that I want to perform this one small service for it. From the moment that Salvatore hears of Alfredo's death, in the dark of the night from his current but no doubt temporary lover - and we do not know who Alfredo is, or why the successful Salvatore is so affected by the news - to the very poignant ending as he views the little wisps of censored film which are his legacy from the old man, it is charming, moving, funny, beautiful to watch, exquisitely performed and quite original. There is one moment, when Salvatore returns to his old room in Sicily for Alfredo's funeral and sees the picture of himself as a child with Alfredo, smiling and happy, that I still find difficult to watch (for all the right reasons!). And so it is one of my favourite films. Last summer we were in Sicily, in Cefalu, and I found out by chance that some of this film was filmed there. Visit that beautiful old fishing town if you can ; it's well worth it. If not, at least watch this wonderful film!
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