Cinema Paradiso was Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore’s semi-autobiographical paean to film and its influence on his coming of age. The story is set in a small village in post-war Italy. As a successful Roman filmmaker is about to embark on a journey back to the small village for the funeral of his friend, he recalls his childhood there, growing up under the tutelage of the local titular cinema’s projectionist and developing a great love of film, to the detriment of all other things in his life. We see his failure at romance with his first love, Elena (Agnese Nano) who will go on to break his heart right before he leaves for a turn in the military and finally, how he becomes the cinema’s projectionist before leaving the village for good, even abandoning his despondent mother for years. Tornatore infuses the film with a seamless sampling of great films from the golden age of filmmaking; they are lovingly integrated into the storyline as he explores love, romance, childhood and coming of age.
While Cinema Paradiso looks generally clean and foreground detail is rather strong, this AVC encodement from Miramax/Lionsgate is inconsistent. Black levels tend to look greyish much of the time and some frames take on a soft, hazy, and grainy cast that really stand out.
A simple DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo mix is provided. It has wide imaging, but the high frequencies sound a bit harsh at times. Dialogue, on the other hand, is clean.
Only the original theatrical trailer (1.33:1; 480i/60) is provided.
The Definitive Word
This is a classic; an absolutely beautiful film that is charming and a must for anyone that loves movies, from the opening scenes to the ending collage of kissing scenes from classic films, Cinema Paradiso is pure genius.
Additional Screen Captures