After all, what was wrong with the short version? Never saccharine, this love affair with the movies is a simple film. Poor, young boy befriends older (yet uneducated) projectionist in his small Sicilian town, learns the ropes, and grows older and wiser with his pal by his side. Eventually, there's romance (no, not between these two). There's war. There's departure. It's like three coming of age stories in one! They're all well produced, subtle, and tender. Unless you truly have no heart, you can't help but enjoy the film.
What The New Version adds is a long denouement that answers a question that few people probably cared to ask. As a teen, Salvatore's big love is with a girl named Elena. But her father disapproves, and he moves the family away from Sicily to marry her off to some rich guy. Salvatore spends years trying to find her but never does. End of story. What happened to Elena? Well, she got married and had kids but of course she still remembers Salvatore and has feelings for him.
This was originally a 30-minute epilogue to the movie, as our hero, now late into middle age, returns to his hometown for a funeral. Wrapping things up with Elena is harmless, but it adds considerably and unnecessarily to the length of the film. The other restored cuts add little, reminding us of Italian cinema's penchant for silly, almost slapstick, sex scenes. The rest of the film is so innocent that the raunchy stuff feels out of place.
Lucky then that Cinema Paradiso includes the original U.S. version on the flip side of the disc. Unless you're an utter completist, you needn't bother with the "new" version, but it'll always be there for you just in case.
Aka Nuovo cinema Paradiso .
Run time: 155 mins
In Theaters: Friday 23rd February 1990
Box Office USA: $0.2M
Box Office Worldwide: $12M
Distributed by: Miramax Films
Production compaines: Cristaldifilm S.r.l., Les Films Ariane, Rai Tre Radiotelevisione Italiana
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 60 Rotten: 7
IMDB: 8.5 / 10
Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Screenwriter: Giuseppe Tornatore
Starring: Philippe Noiret as Alfredo, Jacques Perrin as Salvatore 'Toto' Di Vita - Adult, Marco Leonardi as Salvatore 'Toto' Di Vita - Teenager, Salvatore Cascio as Salvatore 'Toto' Di Vita - Child, Agnese Nano as Elena Mendola, Antonella Attili as Maria Di Vita - Younger, Enzo Cannavale as Spaccafico, Isa Danieli as Anna, Leo Gullotta as Usher, Pupella Maggio as Maria Di Vita - Older, Leopoldo Trieste as Father Adelfio, Tano Cimarosa as Blacksmith, Nicola Di Pinto as Village Idiot, Roberta Lena as Lia, Nino Terzo as Peppino's Father, Brigitte Fossey as Elena Mendola - Adult
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