Cinema Paradiso: The New Version

by

comment

Cinema is life. That idea has always been the heart of Cinema Paradiso (1988). But now, the film that was originally released in Italy nearly 15 years ago as Nuovo Cinema Paradiso is ... well, nuovo, new.

Memories are like the silver nitrate film clippings of our hero Toto’s (Salvatore Cascio) childhood: dangerously precious remnants of something much larger. Perhaps our recollections of the first time we saw Cinema Paradiso could serve as a kind of cinematic inkblot test revealing our underlying personality structure.

Do we remember the tales of young Toto, the little trickster totally faithful to his love of cinema? Or the tragic Romeo, adolescent Toto (Marco Leonardi, The Five Senses and Like Water for Chocolate), who plays out a poignantly rapturous and unrequited love plot that recalls those of novelist Gabriel García Márquez? Perhaps we prefer the mature Toto who has grown into his Christian name, Salvatore Di Vita (Jacques Perrin, Brotherhood of the Wolf). He’s an ironic prodigal son who returns home only after the father figure (who was his guide into the precarious and beautiful realms of film, life and love) has died. Each tale possesses a savory, Old World charm and an archetypical resonance that may reverberate into the present.

Which brings us to the new version, the director’s cut. Director Giuseppe Tornatore (Màlena) has rescued 51 minutes of footage from the cutting-room floor to create his truly Nuovo Cinema Paradiso. Some footage was just as well lost and only creates slack (an extension of the trials of Toto’s compulsory military service, for instance). But lengthy additions to the film’s final act ironically redeem its love plot.

Perhaps the most memorable moment of the original movie is its last: a reel of censored screen kisses spliced into a cinematic shrine of lost innocence and love. Here Tornatore allows us to have that moment again while sweetening its taste.

Showing exclusively at the Birmingham Theatre (Old Woodward, S of Maple Rd., Birmingham). Call 248-644-3456.

James Keith La Croix writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.