Movie Review – Cinema Paradiso

Posted: November 23, 2013 in Movie Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Dhanush in one of his interviews called Cinema Paradiso the best film he has ever watched and wouldn’t get tired watching it any number of times. At that time I was a big fan of him. His roles were considered ‘different.’ I too had the same opinion. I didn’t have the film with me at that time. After so many days, in fact years I got to watch this film. Being a film buff I should have watched this film quite early in my career. At least early enough but that wasn’t to happen. I watched this movie as a first in my lap top. I straight way started hating watching movie in lap top. The only good thing about it would be the much needed privacy but nowadays I don’t worry about my privacy and my family moves away if there are any intimate/violent or any scenes not suitable for family viewing pops up. It doesn’t mean I can watch Old Boy in my living room. They’ve become slightly resilient nowadays. Good for me.


Given the plot, I was expecting too much out of the film. One of my friends told that it’d be personal for me so the expectation doubled. May be that’s why I didn’t like it as much I expected to. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the film. It just wasn’t good enough to be in my top 10. Still it was an enjoyable movie to be watched on a Friday night.

The opening shot was imaginative. A symmetrical shot of flower with camera zooming out and travelling backwards to reveal two characters who are supposedly mom and daughter. It gave me the Iranian film effect. With old people, smoky rooms and voice echoing there. I thought the movie is going to have some of the epic scenes in old cinema. But that was not to be as soon as the film cut to Toto. May be a star, that’s what my guess was then at least. The brief moment of suspense was a cherry on the cake.

Then almost the whole film goes to flashback mode. Here and there the older Toto comes which I didn’t like. Rest all were a pleasant journey. Especially the first part of the story with Toto as a child and Alfredo as operator of cinema reel. Toto’s mother reminded me of Athanasia in the movie Athanasia. She was there to be as a mother. One interesting thing to note is that she doesn’t mind Toto swearing and talking all those bad words watching the film reel under the light but hits him hard when he uses the money to watch movies. That’s when Alfredo gains Toto’s trust by helping him out in a situation. Though it was a simple trick of producing money from nowhere this scene was lovely because all the time we had a close of his hand and he had to take money from that. That means there is very little scope of error for Alfredo. Toto returns his favor in exam hall. This time there are too many things happening in exam. I wonder how they’d go unnoticed. Anyhow it adds to the charm of the film.

Toto’s mother is not really worried about his son getting into the film industry but rather disconcerts herself that she couldn’t let him do. A single woman trying to feed a couple of children could rarely show her emotion. That’s the turmoil she undergoes. But good for her, everything vanishes once Toto gets the job of Alfredo and feeds her. Before that comes the best scene of the movie. When his mother is worried about her husband being lost Toto sees a posture of movie. Toto earlier says that he hardly remembers his father. The puny face that he keeps was just for his mother who cries and not for the loss of his father. In the scene just before that Toto keeps the paper in the reel when it’s advertised that his father is dead. I thought he was going to cut that off from the reel so that her mother wouldn’t know. What I failed to grasp at that point is. It’s not only him but the whole audience who were watching the movie.

Toto and Alfredo become friends and in the process he learns a trick or two from Alfredo. Alfredo too after a while is happy to assist him.  Toto looks through the projector space when he blocks a certain film but we don’t see the lights falling on him. He’s quickly shown the door as he does that. Is it a mistake because ideally he should have seen from the space where Alfredo looks so that he could see the movie is proper or not which in turn wouldn’t have affected the screening?

The two most interesting scenes happen after the Alfredo becomes blind. Both were not explained but both were equally brilliant. One is when he says the film is out of focus. I couldn’t get how he could tell without seeing but my guess was he purposely fiddled with the projector when Alfredo was not noticing. Another scene was when he tells the story of a soldier who waits for the princess. The way the suspense was built with a hand held camera zooming in was brilliant and finally he doesn’t say the climax. It made me laugh literally.

The love life of Toto as expected doesn’t succeed. The New Year experience was new to me. The first time the kiss involves lips first and the second time when she appears like how a heroine appears in movies involves tongue first and it was quite a passionate scene. It was nice to watch their development.

The part where Toto comes back to the village was an average affair but in the climax where he watches the reel given by Alfredo is the best of the lot. We got so many hints of the scene to come but we missed it every single time. That’s why the climax is so brilliant. If someone had seen us watching the climax they wouldn’t have got a clue to the tears in our eyes like how the projector man wouldn’t have got a clue why Toto was crying when he was screening the film.

  1. gloganwriter says:

    The reel with all the kisses gets me every time 🙂

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