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Cinema Paradiso: The New Version
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Genre:Art/Foreign
Year:2002
Rating:R
Cast:Giuseppe Tornatore, Philippe Noiret, Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi

A foreign-language favorite gets a surprising face-lift with Cinema Paradiso: The New Version, an extended restoration of the Oscar-winning drama from Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore. Cinema Paradiso is the touching story of a boy (Salvatore Cascio) growing up in Sicily during WWII who falls in love with the movies and forms a powerful bond with a wise old projectionist (Philippe Noiret). Told as a flashback from the perspective of the boy, now all grown up and a successful filmmaker, the story jumps forward in time to follow the boy's adolescence, when he works as a projectionist himself. Paradiso is a triumphantly and unabashedly nostalgic gem. It revels in its sentimental portrayal of a small Sicilian town in the thrall of the moving picture, plunging headfirst into a love story set to a brilliant musical score by the great Ennio Morricone. In this newer version, the extent to which Tornatore has altered his classic is surprising. The director added almost an hour of footage to make what amounts to a new third act that significantly changes the tone and even meaning of his story. It's an audacious gesture, and worth seeing on that account alone. Fortunately, the DVD also includes the original 1989 cut, as many viewers may prefer one to the other. Either way, Cinema Paradiso is still a charming and profoundly touching film, drenched in enough dreamy nostalgia to please even the most diehard romantic. Gregory Baird

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