Salvatore Di Vita is an Italian film director who has nursed a passion for film ever since he was a boy. As a youngster, he learned how to operate the projector at the movie house Cinema Paradiso from the paternal projectionist at the time, Alfredo. As time went on, he continued to spent every free moment there before meeting a girl, Elena, who he fell in love with. As the stars would have it, however, they were torn apart and Salvatore left his hometown to pursue his lifelong film ambition elsewhere. Having not had contact with Alfredo for several years, he hears news of his death and subsequently discovers a priceless gift left to him by Alfredo.
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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.
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