Cinema Paradiso: The New Version

One of the funnier and more significant plotlines in Giuseppe Tornatore's 1988 feature involves a village priest who previews movies at the local cinema and orders every moment of romantic passion excised before the prints are screened for his parishioners. Ironically, Cinema Paradiso was itself bowdlerized for international audiences, and that 123-minute version won a special jury prize at Cannes and an Oscar for best foreign picture. This 173-minute director's cut restores two brief sexual encounters, several scenes that clarify the story, and a prolonged ending that radically alters—and greatly enhances—the film's denouement. The craggy projectionist at the cinema (Philippe Noiret) strikes up a grandfatherly friendship with a boy whose papa has been killed in the war (Salvatore Cascio), and though the boy pursues his fascination with movies to become a respected film director, he loses his one true love along the way. The longer version reunites the director with his old flame, now married with a young daughter of her own, and its sense of missed opportunity nicely counterbalances the broad comedy and sentimentality of the film's first hour. In Italian with subtitles.

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