I’ve always appreciated cinema, but not quite to the extent before I was a college and university student. Then I really became a film nerd. I’d stay up late watching films (many foreign) on Channel 4 or through Alex Cox’s Moviedrome (here’s a list of films that were shown) on the BBC, my mind buzzing with incredible stories from around the world.
But there were a few films that affected me very deeply and have become my all time favourites. One such film is Giuseppe Tornatore‘s Cinema Paradiso. Right from the get-go, Ennio Morricone‘s score provides an emotional rollercoaster of joy, happiness, excitement, heartbreak, and sadness throughout the whole film. I believe it to be his best ever score, for any film, and he’s scored many, many, many films throughout his career.
Cinema Paradiso is about innocence. It is about the very magic of storytelling and cinema itself. It is about love. It is about loss. It is about regret. But at the very heart of the story is perhaps the most important of all: it is about friendship.
The entire film is pure unadulterated joy, looking at the lives of a young boy, his widowed mother and a local cinema projectionist. When the boy shows an interest in learning how to use the projector, his fate is forever changed – whether for the better or for the worse.
Even now the ending has me in floods of tears – both crying and laughing in equal measure. It is a film that should provoke all the emotions. For me it does; it pushes all the right buttons and has fast become my favourite movie of all time.
And the thing is, this film makes me rather rather sad for the current state of the cinema industry. Going to the pictures used to be such a great joy. With family. With friends. With dates. Or with the wife. It was a proper afternoon/evening out. You could be transported to a different universe for a few hours and come out unscathed, or maybe even just a little bit affected by the experience. Now, we have an industry on terminal decline and, along with regular theatres, need help just to survive.
I already own Cinema Paradiso on regular Blu-Ray and iTunes already – including the much longer director’s cut which deals with the eventual outcome of the relationship between the boy (later, the man) and the girl that he fell in love with back in their village. The pacing of film is altered as a result, but it’s definitely worth a watch. For me, both the theatrical versions and director’s cut are both valid.
So I’m pleased to hear that Arrow Films (through Arrow Academy) are bringing out a 4K/UHD Blu-Ray version. Here’s the trailer. I’m definitely grabbing a copy when it’s released on the 28th September 2020. It can be pre-ordered through Arrow Film’s online store.