Nuovo Cinema Paradiso

nuovo cinema paradiso
Nuovo Cinema Paradiso – Sicilia
Nuovo Cinema Paradiso – Sicilia
Nuovo Cinema Paradiso – Sicilia

Giuseppe Tornatore is the director of this memorable film released in 1988. Winner of the Oscar and Golden Globe for the best Foreign Film in 1990, of the Golden Globe and the Grand Prix Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Festival in 1989, and of 5 BAFTA awards in 1991 for its shortened version (123 minutes) for international release), Nuovo Cinema Paradiso was not a great success when it first came out in Italy, except in Messina where a cinema showed it free of charge, inviting the public to enter the cinema and pay at the end of the film only if they enjoyed it.

Some of the scenes from the film were included in the advert for the Fiat500 and the famed final “kissing scene” was used in the Stealing the first base episode in The Simpsons’ twenty-first season.

The film is the story of a friendship between Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), the projectionist at the local parish cinema in the village of Giancaldo in Sicily (actually the name of a mountain above Bagheria), and Salvatore (the child is played by Salvatore Cascio, the adolescent by Marco Leonardi, the adult by Jacques Perrin), who later became a famous film director in Rome. On receiving news of Alfredo’s death, Salvatore retraces his memories of the most significant moments of this friendship and decides to return to his village for the funeral. Cinema Paradiso, a meeting place for the two protagonists and the heart of Salvatore’s childhood film education, is at the risk of demolition following six years of inactivity. Alfredo’s funeral is the opportunity for Salvatore to retrace the salient milestones of his past, including his love for Elena (Agnese Nano, as an adolescent; Brigitte Fossey, in adulthood), the woman he met and loved in adolescence and lost due to her family’s opposition to their relationship, leading to Salvatore being forcefully enrolled in the Army. The rediscovery of a film reel takes Salvatore – a.k.a Totò – back into his childhood and provides a touching ending.

This film is imbued with Sicily, starting with the character Alfredo, inspired by Alfredo Vaccaro, a Sicilian puppeteer (from Syracuse) who supposedly met Tornatore and told him everything about his profession as a projectionist, with all the limitations of that time.
The village of Giancaldo, the setting for the story, is fictional as it is in fact the name of a mountain towering over Bagheria, in the province of Palermo. The scenes filmed in Giancaldo were actually shot in Palazzo Adriano, in the province of Palermo. Some scenes were filmed in Castelbuono, others in Cefalù and other locations in the province of Palermo (from Santa Flavia to Termini Imerese, passing through Chiusa Sclafani).