Plot: What’s it about?
Cinema Paradiso is a hard film to encapsulate into a summary, as it is basically, as the disc’s packaging says, a tale about a life long love affair with movies. Salvatore is enamored with the movies at the local cinema, which is also the town’s social gathering place, as most of the social aspects of the town revolve around it. Salvatore, just a little boy, is so enraptured by the silver screen, that he is enthralled when the theater’s projectionist, Alfredo, takes him under his wing, to share his secrets about the world movies. The two become instant best friends, even as Salvatore grows older, he stays in love with the movies, and looks to Alfredo for more and more information about the movie process. Salvatore learns everything he knows from Alfredo and the movies, and dreams of someday being able to make his own movies. But when his chance at making his dream come true arises, he must leave the village and Alfredo behind. Alfredo makes Salvatore promise to always pursue his dream and never look back, and Salvatore keeps his promise. Thirty years pass, and Salvatore receives a message that he is to return to the tiny village right away. The rest of the story is best left to you viewers to explore, as words cannot do the unfolding events justice.
This is a touching movie, and anyone who has a deep passion for movies should not miss it. It has excellent performances, a great storyline, and it just seems to reach a special place in my heart when I watch it. This movie won a plethora of awards, even picking up the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, and it deserves them all and even more. I know this seems short, but this type of movie is hard to discuss, it’s just one of those movies everyone should see. While I could analyze it or try to point out flaws, this movie is so endearing, I wouldn’t want to. I recommend this movie and disc to every reader out there, it’s a classic and a must have for every film buff’s library.
Video: How does it look?
Cinema Paradiso is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and looks the best it ever has. The image is very sharp, which is surprising, given the low budget origins of the movie. The print has only minor flecking and other print wear, and no compression errors emerge. The visual style uses a natural spectrum of color, so the hues are a darker, more natural tone. The black levels display perfect contrast, with very high detail always visible, and no shadow layering issues.
Audio: How does it sound?
There are several options for the film’s audio presentation on this disc. There are two Italian tracks, one mono and the other 2.0 surround, as well as a mono English dub. For this review, I chose the Italian mono version, and it seems to be the best overall choice. For those of you who feel a surround track is always superior, you’ll find a tough argument with this disc. The surround track sounds very forced, just pushing all the audio through the rear channels, which is not cool. The mono track is very good, with no separation problems, and all elements are clear and easily audible. For those of you who hate subtitles, the English dub is acceptable, so you can rest easy.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The disc includes the theatrical trailer, talent files, and a listing of all the awards the film has garnered.