Showing posts with label Cinema Paradiso. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cinema Paradiso. Show all posts

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Six of the Best... Films about Film

Many art forms dip into the self-referential. From songs about songs to paintings depicting the artist painting that particular work, art is always willing to look at itself. Films are no different. From the very earliest cinematic experiments, movies drew inspiration from or indeed focused entirely on the filmmaking process. Even at the turn of the last century, filmmakers were experimenting with the ideas of putting film on film. The Big Swallow is a 1901 surrealist short in which a man steps closer and closer to the camera before swallowing it whole. Since then films have looked at the cameraman’s craft (Man With a Movie Camera – 1929), the screenwriting process (Adaptation – 2002), Sound Design (Berbarian Sound Studio - 2012) and in some movies, characters even come to recognise their own fictional existence (Stranger than Fiction – 2006). So without further ado, here is my list of Six of the Best… Films about Film.

1. Cinema Paradiso – 1988
Giuseppe Tornatore’s Italian masterpiece features a middle aged film director returning to his small Sicilian village for the first time in decades in order to attend the funeral of his friend and mentor. The movie then takes us forward from the director’s earliest years until adulthood through his love of the motion picture. I’ve never seen adoration of cinema so beautifully and overtly displayed before and the movie features clips of many famous and less so well known movies from the silent era forwards. The local cinema becomes the beating heart of the town and brings joy to many in the post war depression that hit the country hard. The process of projection is lovingly demonstrated and the movie’s final scene is perhaps the most beautiful I’ve ever seen and contains some of the most breathtaking images in all cinema history.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Cinema Paradiso

"Out of the fire of love come ashes. Even the greatest love eventually fizzles out"

Giuseppe Tornatore’s much heralded 1988 film Cinema Paradiso begins with a famous film director in Rome called Salvatore (Jaques Perrin) receiving news from his estranged mother that a man called Alfredo has died. The director then remembers back to the mid 1940s when he was a young child in the Sicilian village of Giancaldo. The young Salvatore (Salvatore Cascio), nicknamed Toto is a highly intelligent six year old who becomes fascinated with cinema during his frequent visits to the local picture house Cinema Paradiso. The boy develops a friendship with an old projectionist called Alfredo (Philippe Noiret) and begs him to teach him the art of film projection. Alfredo is hesitant at first, deeming it an unfit job for the sprightly Toto but through charm and persistence the boy finally becomes an apprentice. A few years later the now adolescent Toto (Marco Leonardi) is running the Cinema Paradiso and begins messing around with his own films. One day he spots a beautiful girl at the railway station (Agnese Nano) and his infatuation and love of film becomes shared with his love for the girl.

The film follows Salvatore/Toto from a young boy, right through to his middle age and is one of the most loving films I’ve seen in a long time. This is not only a romantic drama but also a love letter to film itself.