Cinema Pardiso is a film for cinema lovers. Arrestingly beautiful, relatable, and intriguing, this is a love letter to the art form and a must-watch for any self-professed cinephile.
The film chronicles the life of Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita, a man who receives a call from his estranged mother informing him that his mentor, Alfredo, has passed away. The film then traces Toto’s journey from childhood to his current adult state, and the mark that Alfredo and film have left on his life.
The acting is superb. Seeing Toto fall in love with cinema struck a deep chord with me, and the father-son relationship between Toto and Alfredo is poignant and heart-warming. Toto’s mother is portrayed as a frazzled, harried mother at the end of her rope, trying to raise two young children while denying the fact that her husband is dead or missing.
Italy looks incredible in Cinema Paradiso. At times bright and colorful, at others dim and dust-choked, you feel like you’re right there with the characters.
The story is absolutely amazing, and it resonated with me deeply. Seeing Toto fall in love with the films shown at the cinema, and the art of film-making, reminded me of myself. Alfredo’s life-long love affair with being a projectionist brought tears to my eyes, and his love for Toto was astounding.
If you love film, Cinema Paradiso is a must-watch. An ode to cinema, this is a beautiful, moving story about love, both familial and passionate. If you don’t care for foreign language films or aren’t a film aficionado, you may be bored by this movie, but otherwise, this is a rare, exquisite masterpiece loves its subject matter just as much as Toto and Alfredo love it.