Some of us grew up in the pre-televison era of Saturday matinees with theaters filled with screaming kids, so the 1989 Italian somewhat biographical epic “Cinema Paradiso” brings back a lot of wonderful memories. It was a great time to be a kid so here’s a movie about growing up with movies.
I was fortunate enough to attend classes this term on the power of music where fellow students introduced us to the beautiful “Cinema Paradiso” love theme with solos by James Galloway and Chris Botti from this timeless classic by director Giuseppe Tornatore.
You will need to see the movie to fully appreciate the music because it’s a touching coming of age epic, somewhat like Peter Bogdanovich’s “Last Picture” show with attractive young actors. But this is set in post war rural Italy and while it’s reminiscent of Fellini’s biographical "Armacord", “Cinema Paradiso” is more evocative for those of us who are trying to write our life stories.
There’s a good reason why Baltimore’s Little Italy festival annually features “Cinema Paradiso” because it’s a magnet for young lovers. Originally criticized for being overly sentimental, the movie found an international audience in 1990 when it won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.
“Cinema Paradiso” was restored on DVD to its original full three-hour length and will delight you with everything that makes Italy so hauntingly beautiful.