CINEMA PARADISO  [25th Anniversary Remastered Limited Edition] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] A Celebration of Youth, Friendship and the Everlasting Magic of the Movies!
A winner of awards across the world including Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, 5 BAFTA® Awards including Best Actor, Original Screenplay and Score, the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and many more.
Giuseppe Tornatore's loving homage to the cinema tells the story of Salvatore, a successful film director, returning home for the funeral of Alfredo [Philippe Noiret], his old friend who was the projectionist at the local cinema throughout his childhood. Soon memories of his first love affair with the beautiful Elena and all the high and lows that shaped his life come flooding back, as Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita [Jacques Perrin] reconnects with the community he left 30 years earlier.
Presented in the newly restored original camera negative materials and presented in two versions, which are the expanded 174 minute Director's Cut, incorporating more of Salvatore's backstory, and 124 minute Cannes Festival theatrical version.
FILM FACT: Awards: 1989 Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix du Jury. 1989: Golden Globe® Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. 1989: Academy Awards® for Best Foreign Language Film. 1991: BAFTA® Awards for Best Film (Not in the English Language). Best Actor: Philippe Noiret. Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Salvatore Cascio. Best Original Screenplay: Giuseppe Tornatore. Best Film Music: Ennio Morricone and Andrea Morricone. 2010: 20/20 Awards: Nominated: Best Picture. Won: Best Foreign Language Picture. Won: Best Cinematography. ‘Cinema Paradiso’ was shot in director’s Tornatore's hometown Bagheria, Sicily, as well as Cefalù on the Tyrrhenian Sea. The famous town square is Piazza Umberto I in the village of Palazzo Adriano, about 30 miles to the south of Palermo. The ‘Paradiso’ cinema was built here, at Via Nino Bixio, overlooking the octagonal Baroque fountain, which dates from 1608.
Cast: Antonella Attili (Young Maria), Enzo Cannavale (Spaccafico), Isa Danieli, Leo Gullotta, Marco Leonardi (Adolescent), Pupella Maggio (Older Maria), Agnese Nano (Adolescent Elena), Leopoldo Trieste (Father Adelfio), Salvatore Cascio (Child Salvatore), Tano Cimarosa, Nicola Di Pinto, Roberta Lena, Nino Terzo, Jacques Perrin (Adult Salvatore), Brigitte Fossey (Adult), Philippe Noiret (Alfredo), Nellina Laganà, Turi Giuffrida, Mariella Lo Giudice, Giorgio Libassi, Beatrice Palme, Ignazio Pappalardo, Angela Leontini, Mimmo Mignemi, Margherita Mignemi, Giuseppe Pellegrino, Turi Killer, Angelo Tosto, Concetta Borpagano, Franco Catalano, Giuseppe Tornatore (Projectionist uncredited), Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle (archive footage uncredited), John Barrymore (archive footage uncredited), Isa Barzizza (archive footage uncredited), Ingrid Bergman (archive footage uncredited), Mario Castellani (archive footage uncredited), Charles Chaplin (archive footage uncredited), Gary Cooper (archive footage uncredited), Olivia de Havilland Vittorio De Sica (archive footage uncredited), Kirk Douglas (archive footage uncredited), Errol Flynn (archive footage uncredited), Jean Gabin (archive footage uncredited), Clark Gable (archive footage uncredited), Greta Garbo (archive footage uncredited), Vittorio Gassman (archive footage uncredited), Massimo Girotti (archive footage uncredited), Farley Granger (archive footage uncredited), Cary Grant (archive footage uncredited), Georgia Hale (archive footage uncredited), Laurence Harvey (archive footage uncredited), Helen Hayes (archive footage uncredited), Louis Jouvet (archive footage uncredited), Anna Magnani (archive footage uncredited), Silvana Mangano (archive footage uncredited), Marcello Mastroianni (archive footage uncredited), Amedeo Nazzari (archive footage uncredited), Suzy Prim (archive footage uncredited), Donna Reed (archive footage uncredited), Jane Russell (archive footage uncredited), Rosalind Russell (archive footage uncredited), Yvonne Sanson (archive footage uncredited), Maria Schell (archive footage uncredited), Norma Shearer (archive footage uncredited), Simone Signoret (archive footage uncredited), Alberto Sordi (archive footage uncredited), James Stewart (archive footage uncredited), Totò (archive footage uncredited), Spencer Tracy (archive footage uncredited), Claire Trevor (archive footage uncredited), Rudolph Valentino (archive footage uncredited), Alida Valli (archive footage uncredited) and John Wayne (archive footage uncredited)
Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Producers: Franco Cristaldi, Giovanna Romagnoli and Gabriella Carosio (delegate producer: RAI)
Screenplay: Giuseppe Tornatore, Vanna Paoli (collaborating writer) and Richard Epcar (english version)
Cinematographer: Blasco Giurato
Composers: Ennio Morricone and Andrea Morricone
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Audio: Italian: 5.1 HD-DTS Master Audio and 2.0 LPCM Linear Stereo
Region: Region B/2
Running Time: 174 minutes and 124 minutes
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Arrow Academy
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: A famous Rome film director, Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita [Jacques Perrin], learns of the death of an elderly film projectionist, Alfredo [Philippe Noiret], and flashes back to his formative years growing up in a small post-war Sicilian village under Alfredo's tutelage. In the village of Giancaldo, Salvatore's childhood revolved around the local cinema, the Cinema Paradiso, and the elderly projectionist Alfredo [Philippe Noiret] who schooled the young Salvatore [Salvatore Cascio] on the magic of cinema and functioned as a father figure to the impressionable boy whose mother [Antonella Attili] pines for the husband she lost in World War II.
The successful Italian film director, Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita [Jacques Perrin], returns to his home village of Giancaldo, Sicily for the funeral of his old friend, Alfredo [Philippe Noiret], who was the projectionist at the local cinema throughout his childhood. As he returns to the old haunts, and as his girlfriend begins to ask him who the mysterious “Alfredo” was. Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita flashes back to his childhood in a post-war Italy, and soon memories of his first love affair with the beautiful Elena and all the high, lows and passions that would shape his adult life come flooding back, as Salvatore Cascio reconnects with the community he left 30 years earlier.
For what forms almost the entire first hour of the film, the action concerns itself with Salvatore Cascio's childhood years, firmly establishing both his newly discovered love of the cinema and his growing relationship and deep friendship with the father-like Alfredo, whilst his relationship at home with his own mother grows increasingly more fraught in the wake of his father's absence at war, before a clever visual device instantly advances the film a decade and introduces us to the now adolescent "Toto."
‘Nuovo Cinema Paradiso’ [Italian pronunciation: ˈnwɔːvo ˈtʃiːnema paraˈdiːzo], "New Paradise Cinema"], internationally released as ‘Cinema Paradiso’ and is a 1988 Italian drama film written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. Upon its original Italian release the film ran to a total of 155 minutes, however due to a poor box office performance in its native country the film was withdrawn and cut considerably, to a more manageable length of 123 minutes, for its international release which subsequently became an instant success, and it is this theatrical release which garnered the film's numerous awards and widespread acclaim.
In 2002, film audiences saw the release of a third cut of the film, the arguably superior extended "Director's Cut," which runs at a fairly lengthy 174 minutes and incorporates a good deal more of Salvatore's back-story, effectively expanding on his relationship with Elena and incorporating a moving scene in which the pair reunite after a lengthy separation, adding both a greater sense of dimension and thematic depth to the overall piece.
Not only does Giuseppe Tornatore proved himself as a director of great quality and vision, he also ascertains himself as a master storyteller and fine screenwriter, charting Salvatore Di Vita's coming of age tale with great skill and fine attention to detail, suitably evoking a strong emotional response from the audience and beautifully balancing moments of humour and pathos; Giuseppe Tornatore deservedly picked up the BAFTA® film award for Best Original Screenplay for his work.
Of course in watching the film, one of the great joys for any true cinema aficionados is in both identifying all the films screened at the eponymous Cinema Paradiso, from Jean Renoir's `Les bas-fonds' ['The Lower Depths']  to Luchino Visconti's ground-breaking Neo-realist drama `La Terra Trema'  and Mario Mattoli's now rarely-seen musical comedy `I pompieri di Viggiù' [`The Firemen of Viggiu'] , and picking up on all the various quotes and subtle cinematic references weaved throughout the film. Performances across the board are quite superb, from Philippe Noiret's impeccably judged, BAFTA® Award-winning performance as Alfredo, to Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi and Jacques Perrin's respective performances as the child, adolescent and adult incarnations of Salvatore, with the BAFTA® Award-winning Salvatore Cascio for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and delivering one of the most memorable child performances in cinema as the wide-eyed young "Toto."
Lensed by cinematographer Blasco Giurato, ‘Cinema Paradiso' proves quite the visual treat, perfectly capturing the alluring quality of the tonal Sicilian vistas, carefully observing how life within the village has evolved over the course of the film and cleverly juxtaposing the magic-realist quality of the cinema with the Neo-realist tones of contemporary Italian society with his own beautifully composed original photography. Ennio Morricone's beautifully orchestrated, string-heavy score is a work of both great beauty and emotional power, accompanying the visuals with stirring effect, and the fact that he was overlooked for an Academy Award® nomination for his composition is a great travesty; not to mention the fact that the film received only a single Academy Award® nomination, but then again, what do awards matter?
Shot on location in director Giuseppe Tornatore 's hometown of Bagheria, Sicily, as well as Cefalù on the Tyrrhenian Sea, `Cinema Paradiso' proves an incredibly personal, powerful and affecting examination of friendship, love and cinema, and often described as a work of `nostalgic postmodernism', beautifully combines sentimentality, humour and pathos with a reflective and profound, generation-spanning coming of age tale to deliver what is without doubt one of cinema's greatest and most passionate celebrations of film, perfectly capturing the true essence of cinema and the endearing magical quality of film-watching.
With this incredibly popular film, Giuseppe Tornatore’s made ‘Cinema Paradiso’ one of the great statements on film, by a film. We see that, for some, a cinema theatre is more than just a location of passive entertainment. It’s a place where memories are made and shared, where people escape, where people fall in love, learn about life, feel happy, feel sad, and on and on. And knowing this, and constructing his film thusly, Giuseppe Tornatore’s creates a film that not only reproduces these sensations but has the potential to produce them as well. Fashionable and common in terms of the story it tells and how it tells it, ‘Cinema Paradiso’ is nevertheless an effective work, and a powerful one. Though it could be argued that these formulaic and romanticised aspects make for a less than challenging or substantial film, it could just as easily be contested that they epitomize what films do best: they move us, they inform us, and they hold us captive and then carry us away in delightful or despairing rapture. Giuseppe Tornatore’s film shows, and embodies, movie magic and its place in the lives of so many.
Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘Cinema Paradiso' was exclusively restored by Arrow Films for this release. The original 35mm camera negative elements were scanned in 2K resolution at Technicolor Rome, with all grading and restoration work completed at Deluxe Digital Cinema, EMEA in London. In comparison to the previously released and reviewed Miramax edition of `Cinema Paradiso' on Blu-ray in the USA, I would say, there is no comparison. This new edition from Arrow Academy wins hands down. It arrives in a beautiful 1080p image quality and while darks may have a little less detail extension, the result is an image that looks richer, and offers better contrast. The grain structure is also sharper, more textured, and detail extends farther into the background. In comparison to the Arrow Academy Blu-ray, the Miramax looks very soft and smooth.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The sound is much improved too. There are two options for both films, there is the 2.0 LPCM Linear Stereo and 5.1 HD-DTS Master Audio mix. Now it's nice to have both, but I found the 5.1 audio mix front loaded and lacking coverage in the rears. Finally the subtitles are not flawless in their translation with sometimes literal choices overcoming more appropriate options e.g. does anyone say "cut your mouth out," surely it's the slip of the tongue!
Blu-ray 2-Disc Special Edition Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary with director Giuseppe Tornatore and Italian cinema expert critic Millicent Marcus: Millicent Marcus's commentary is fine if you are new to the film and want a companion who tells you the meaning of the action throughout with some biographical detail. She is supplemented by excerpts of Giuseppe Tornatore speaking in English, explaining things like Philippe Noiret's casting and the importance of certain producers. Her approach is not very critical though and for the cine-literate viewers her explanation of what film is showing in the cinema may seem obvious. The commentary is only available on the Theatrical cut. Sometimes in the past I am not always a big fan of so-called “expert” audio commentary tracks, though I usually say that to introduce one that is actually an enthralling listen. The one here is provided by Millicent Marcus, Professor of Italian at Yale University and author of a number of books on Italian cinema, and I'd love to tell you that this is just such a commentary, but frankly it's anything but. Most of the time Ms. Millicent Marcus simply describes what's happening on screen ("Here we have Don Ciccio, the proprietor of the `Cinema Paradiso,' arguing with his distributor") or observes the purpose of shots or edits, which should be obvious to even a half-aware viewer. At times it plays almost like an audio description for the visually impaired (an irony that will not be lost on those who've seen the film). Perhaps the most bemusing moment for non-Italian speakers comes when Millicent Marcus elects to stop talking for a while to allow us to listen to a story Alfredo is telling the teenage Salvatore Di Vita, which is delivered in Italian and without English subtitles (you can call them up with the pop-up menu, but they're not on by default for the commentary track). Just occasionally Marcus breaks with her descriptive approach to offer a snippet of useful cultural detail and at one point finds parallels between the adoration of cinema and religious belief, a frankly fascinating theory that deserves to explored in more depth that it is here. Best of all are some welcome contributions from director Giuseppe Tornatore himself, which while teasingly brief and sparsely located, are always interesting.
Special Feature: A Dream of Sicily [52:00] This is a beautiful 52-minute documentary profile of Giuseppe Tornatore featuring interviews with director and extracts from his early home movies as well as interviews with director Francesco Rosi and painter Peppino Ducato, set to music by the legendary Ennio Morricone. The documentary produced for either an Italian TV screening or home video release in which Giuseppe Tornatore explores the influence on his work of the Sicily of his childhood, which is illustrated with extracts from his films, including early documentary material shot in his home town of Bagheria. Rather thrillingly, this includes the very first footage he ever filmed, done on a borrowed camera at the age of 13 and whose framing and eye for arresting imagery puts the work of the average first year UK media student to shame. He charts his development through the people, places, events and films of the time and place, not in the style of a linear documentary portrait but the fragmented manner with which we tend to remember our past. It's an intriguing piece, although a couple of name captions are not translated and it is useful to know, for example, just who Peppino Ducato is to better contextualise his contribution, and Burt Lancaster's English monologue from Luchino Visconti's ‘The Leopard’ [Il Gattopardo]  is curiously also subtitled in English, subtitles that retain the meaning of the speech but do not accurately reproduce the words.
Special Feature: A Bear and Mouse in Paradise [27:00] This beautiful 27-minute documentary on the genesis of ‘Cinema Paradiso,' the characters of Toto and Alfredo, featuring interviews with the actors who play them, Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio as well as Giuseppe Tornatore. Giuseppe Tornatore recalls his first experiences of cinema and how the idea for the film came about, then focusses on the key roles of Alfredo and young "Toto" and the actors who play them, with actors Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio, now an adult, of course, providing their own recollections. Philippe Noiret in particular has some engaging memories, describing Salvatore Cascio as "a real brat because he came to be ruler of the shoot," but quickly tempering this with "He knew to be an actor he had to be a creator and a performer. He always invented new things. He was always spot on." His story of Salvatore Cascio's hatred of his cigars is backed up by an extract from what looks like the Cannes press conference, and he describes the shoot itself as an exhausting experience. Giuseppe Tornatore also talks about the main square location and the difficulty of shooting two key scenes involving the cinema exterior. A very illuminating extra.
Special Feature: The Kissing Sequence [7:00] Giuseppe Tornatore discusses the origins of the kissing scenes with full clips identifying each scene. Giuseppe Tornatore outlines how the idea of a priest censoring the films being shown in a provincial cinema was drawn from real-life, albeit stories told to him rather than first-hand experience, and discusses one of the film's most fondly remembered sequences, for which we're also given a textual breakdown of the actors and films involved and I can't reveal more without delivering spoilers for first-time viewers.
Original Director's Cut Theatrical Trailer and 25th Anniversary Re-Release Trailer [1:42] Headed by a Guardian reader poll that proclaims this "The greatest foreign film of all time" and I won't even start with what's wrong with that technically impossible claim, and a "timeless classic" and of course classics are always timeless, this does play on the film's romanticism and sentimentality, but is still a reasonable sell. Director's Cut Trailer [1:22] "Experience the passion that spanned the years," the cheerfully warm narration for the 4:3 framed American trailer for the director cut assures us. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the love story is pushed to the fore here.
BONUS: Special Booklet: It has a beautiful 32 page booklet that features new writing on the film by Italian cinema expert Pasquale Iannone, illustrated with original archive stills. The only negative aspect of this beautiful booklet is that the wording is very hard to read, as it is printed in silver grey typeface against a black colour background.
Finally, `Cinema Paradiso' is such a fantastic classic film with heart-warming performances from Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio who is such a delightful little child that you can forgive his misbehaviour. The big question is: if you already own this on DVD, is it worth buying the Blu-ray? The Audio/Video quality is of such a high calibre standard that even the best looking DVD up-scaled looks poor by comparison. The inclusion of the isolated score is terrific as this is one of the very best scores that Ennio Morricone wrote in his long and illustrious career and makes up for the missing documentary. None of the previous releases have adequately produced a surround track to properly showcase the beautiful score and this is the first to do so. This is a classic film which has been given the presentation it deserves and, whether you own the DVD or not, this purchase is definitely highly recommended and a total honour to add this to my ever expanding Blu-ray Collection.
But as a final conclusion, as you know I sign off with the name of my home entitled "Le Cinema Paradiso," well the reason for this is because ‘Cinema Paradiso' is such an all-time magical experience and one of my all-time favourite film and that is why I named my home after this glorious intelligent film, but of course I suspect you are asking yourself why did I add the word "Le," well I did it to make it sound something very special and different and has worked, as I often get asked this particular question. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom