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Film Review: Cinema Paradiso (1988)

 I do not warm to many foreign films, so when my cousin suggested we watch Cinema Paradiso, a 1988 Italian film with a total running time of 124 minutes, I was not too enthusiastic. Despite my reluctance to enjoy, I found myself warming to this film with ease.

 The simple plot of the film helps when having to follow subtitles and the childish nature of the first half returns the viewer to a feeling of childish playfulness and innocence. For the reason of it being in Italian, I took to facial recognition instead of remembering the names of any of the characters past the protagonist Salvatore and his friend Alfredo. This only helped to heighten my feeling of childishness in the film.

 Many of the jokes, particularly the first few, transcend language barriers, helping for initial enjoyment and engagement with Alfredo. Salvatore loves cinema, and as he grows, we see his emotional connections with other people grow, seeing the prominent importance of both his friendship with Alfredo and the development of romance. However, with these two new loves, friendship and romance, we see how they affect the development of his feelings towards cinema.

 As Alfredo grows so will you, first remembering the feelings of childhood, and then of adolescence, and by the end of the film you too will burst with the sincerest feelings of joy and love. I would encourage anybody to watch this film, even the self-proclaimed enemies of foreign film. The only thing I can criticise is the fact I have not yet watched the extended version!

Written by Sean Hoyal

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