Movie Review: No 74. Cinema Paradiso

Movie Review: No 74. Cinema Paradiso

My last experience of a ‘Cinema Paradiso’ involved my close proximity to the ‘Cinema Paradiso’ in Ettalong, New South Wales, and possibly the worst blind date in the history of blind dates (excluding, perhaps, any that resulted in kidnapping or murder).

It’s safe to say, then, that I was slightly apprehensive about watching this film.I think it’s also safe to say that I was right to be apprehensive. Although, to be fair, I was expecting this:

Guest House Paradiso Poster

Rather than this:

Cinema Paradiso Poster

My cinematic ignorance strikes again!

My sister, on the other hand, had heard all about this film before. Where else but on Dawson’s Creek? In reading the imdb blurb for the film it becomes very rapidly apparent (to even the most lax of Dawson’s Creek fans) how the film might have rated a mention on the verbose nineties drama:

A filmmaker recalls his childhood, when he fell in love with the movies at his village’s theater and formed a deep friendship with the theater’s projectionist.

OMG that is soooo Dawson. And, if I may, I find it impossible these days to think about Dawson’s Creek and not think about my all-time favourite meme. Enjoy:

Dawson Meme

Hahahah haha hahah. *Ahem*. Where was I?

Oh, that’s right. The blurb. What the blub doesn’t mention is the rampant pornography and sheer raving randomness of the script:

Urchin: F@©# me! I’ve caught an octopus! An ooooctopus!

Now, I am not the most delicate of flowers, but even I found it a little confronting at times. I won’t go into it here. Suffice it to say that the priestly Cinema Paradiso censor would have had himself a flamboyantly Italian heart attack.

Did I mention that it is an Italian film, complete with subtitles? I don’t mind a subtitled film but it does make it more difficult to go and get myself a bowl of ice cream during a boring bit without feeling the need to pause or rewind. And there were plenty of boring bits. Plenty. Why do so many films take so long to warm up?

As Salvatore reached his teenage years I was reminded of The Karate Kid (one of my all-time favourite movies which, in hindsight, should have appeared on my ‘Real Top 100 Movies‘ list). This movie? Not even close.

There are, however, a few really strong quotes amidst the rubble of ‘Cinema Paradiso’:

Alfredo: Get out of here! Go back to Rome. You’re young and the world is yours. I’m old. I don’t want to hear you talk anymore. I want to hear others talking about you. Don’t come back. Don’t think about us. Don’t look back. Don’t write. Don’t give in to nostalgia. Forget us all. If you do and you come back, don’t come see me. I won’t let you in my house. Understand?

There are also some great scenes (the fire-breathing lion springs to mind) and there are some really touching moments. To me, however, the job of the filmmaker is to effectively tell a story, and I really feel like we were let down on that one. Fundamentally, it’s a great story, but there is so much going on (much of which is irrelevant to the story) that it loses its cohesion and starts seeming less like a good film and more like an “onion on my belt” rant.

6 pumpkins.

Have you seen ‘Cinema Paradiso’? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.


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