CINEMA PARADISO [1998 / 2013] [25th Anniversary Remastered Limited Edition] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] A Celebration of Youth, Friendship and the Everlasting Magic of the Movies!

A winner of awards across the world including Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, 5 BAFTA® Awards including Best Actor, Original Screenplay and Score, the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and many more.

Giuseppe Tornatore's loving homage to the cinema tells the story of Salvatore, a successful film director, returning home for the funeral of Alfredo [Philippe Noiret], his old friend who was the projectionist at the local cinema throughout his childhood. Soon memories of his first love affair with the beautiful Elena and all the high and lows that shaped his life come flooding back, as Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita [Jacques Perrin] reconnects with the community he left 30 years earlier.

Presented in the newly restored original camera negative materials and presented in two versions, which are the expanded 174 minute Director's Cut, incorporating more of Salvatore's backstory, and 124 minute Cannes Festival theatrical version.

FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1989 Cannes Film Festival: Win: Grand Prize of the Jury for Giuseppe Tornatore. Nomination: Palme d'Or for Giuseppe Tornatore. 1989 David di Donatello Awards: Win: Best Music (Migliore Musicista) for Ennio Morricone. Nomination: Best Film (Miglior Film). Nomination: Best Supporting Actress (Migliore Attrice non Protagonista) for Pupella Maggio. Nomination: Best Director (Migliore Regista) for Giuseppe Tornatore. Nomination: Best Producer (Migliore Produttore) for Franco Cristaldi and Giovanna Romagnoli. 1989 European Film Awards: Win: European Film Award for European Actor of the Year for Philippe Noiret. Win: Special Prize of the Jury for Giuseppe Tornatore. Nomination: European Film Award for Young European Film of the Year for Giuseppe Tornatore. 1989 Golden Ciak Awards: Nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Migliore Attore Non Protagonista) for Salvatore Cascio. Nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Migliore Attore Non Protagonista) for Leopoldo Trieste. Nomination: Best Production Design (Migliore Scenografia) for Andrea Crisanti. Nomination: Best Screenplay (Migliore Sceneggiatura) for Giuseppe Tornatore. Nomination: Best Editing (Miglior Montaggio) for Mario Morra. Nomination: Best Score (Migliore Colonna Sonora) for Ennio Morricone. Nomination: Best Cinematography (Migliore Fotografia) for Blasco Giurato. 1989 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists: Nomination: Silver Ribbon Award for Best Director (Regista del Miglior Film) for Giuseppe Tornatore. Nomination: Silver Ribbon Award for Best Original Story (Migliore Soggetto) for Giuseppe Tornatore. Nomination: Silver Ribbon Award for Best Producer (Migliore Produttore) for Franco Cristaldi. Nomination: Silver Ribbon Award for Best Score (Migliore Musica) for Ennio Morricone. Nomination: Silver Ribbon Award for Best Cinematography (Migliore Fotografia) for Blasco Giurato. Nomination: Silver Ribbon Award for Best Production Design (Migliore Scenografia) for Andrea Crisanti. 1990 Academy Awards®: Win: Best Foreign Language Film [Italy]. 1990 Golden Globes: Win: Best Foreign Language Film [Italy]. 1991 BAFTA Film Awards: Win: Best Actor for Philippe Noiret. Win: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Salvatore Cascio. Win: Best Film not in the English Language for Franco Cristaldi and Giuseppe Tornatore. Win: Best Original Film Score for Ennio Morricone and Andrea Morricone. Win: Best Original Screenplay for Giuseppe Tornatore. Nomination: Best Cinematography for Blasco Giurato. Nomination: Best Costume Design for Beatrice Bordone. Nomination: Best Direction for Giuseppe Tornatore. Nomination: Best Editing for Mario Morra. Nomination: Best Make Up Artist for Maurizio Trani. Nomination: Best Production Design for Andrea Crisanti. 1991 Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards: Win: Silver Condor Award for Best Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera) for Giuseppe Tornatore. 1990 Cleveland International Film Festival: Win: Best Film for Giuseppe Tornatore. 1990 César Awards, France: Win: Best Poster (Meilleure affiche). Nomination: Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger) for Giuseppe Tornatore. 1990 Mainichi Film Concours Awards: Win: Best Foreign Language Film for Giuseppe Tornatore. 1990 New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film [Italy]. 1990 Young Artist Awards: Win: Special Award for Best Young Actor Under Nine Appearing in a Foreign Film for Salvatore Cascio. 1991 ASECAN Awards: Win: Best Foreign Film for Giuseppe Tornatore. 1991 Awards of the Japanese Academy: Nomination: Best Foreign Film. 1991 Directors Guild of America: Nomination: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for Giuseppe Tornatore. 1991 London Critics Circle Film Awards: Win: Actor of the Year for Philippe Noiret. Win: Foreign Language Film of the Year. 1991 Robert Festival: Win: Best Foreign Film (Årets udenlandske spillefilm) for Giuseppe Tornatore (director). 2010 20/20 Awards: Win: Felix Award for Best Foreign Film. Win: Felix Award for Best Cinematography for Blasco Giurato. Nomination:  Felix Award for Best Picture.

FILM FACT No.2: ‘CINEMA PARADISO’ was shot in director Tornatore's hometown Bagheria, Sicily, as well as Cefalù on the Tyrrhenian Sea. The famous town square is Piazza Umberto I in the village of Palazzo Adriano, about 30 miles to the south of Palermo. The Paradiso Cinema was built here, at Via Nino Bixio, overlooking the octagonal Baroque fountain, which dates from 1608. Seen as an example of "nostalgic postmodernism" and where the film intertwines sentimentality with comedy, and nostalgia with pragmatisms.

Cast: Antonella Attili (Young Maria Di Vita), Enzo Cannavale (Spaccafico), Isa Danieli (Anna), Leo Gullotta (Usher), Marco Leonardi (Teenager Salvatore 'Totò' Di Vita), Pupella Maggio (Older Maria Di Vita), Agnese Nano (Adolescent Elena Mendola), Leopoldo Trieste (Father Adelfio), Salvatore Cascio (Child Salvatore 'Totò' Di Vita), Tano Cimarosa (Blacksmith), Nicola Di Pinto (Village Idiot), Roberta Lena (Lia), Nino Terzo (Peppino's Father), Jacques Perrin (Adult Salvatore 'Totò' Di Vita), Philippe Noiret (Alfredo), Nellina Laganà, Turi Giuffrida, Mariella Lo Giudice, Giorgio Libassi, Beatrice Palme, Ignazio Pappalardo, Angela Leontini, Mimmo Mignemi, Margherita Mignemi, Giuseppe Pellegrino, Turi Killer, Angelo Tosto, Concetta Borpagano, Franco Catalano, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle (archive footage) (uncredited), John Barrymore (archive footage) (uncredited), Isa Barzizza (archive footage) (uncredited), Ingrid Bergman (archive footage) (uncredited), Mario Castellani (archive footage) (uncredited), Charles Chaplin (archive footage) (uncredited), Gary Cooper (archive footage) (uncredited), Olivia de Havilland Vittorio De Sica (archive footage) (uncredited), Kirk Douglas (archive footage) (uncredited), Errol Flynn (archive footage) (uncredited), Jean Gabin (archive footage) (uncredited), Clark Gable (archive footage) (uncredited),  Greta Garbo (archive footage) (uncredited),  Vittorio Gassman (archive footage) (uncredited), Massimo Girotti (archive footage) (uncredited), Farley Granger (archive footage) (uncredited), Cary Grant (archive footage) (uncredited),  Georgia Hale (archive footage) (uncredited), Laurence Harvey (archive footage) (uncredited), Helen Hayes (archive footage) (uncredited), Louis Jouvet (archive footage) (uncredited), Anna Magnani (archive footage) (uncredited), Silvana Mangano (archive footage) (uncredited), Marcello Mastroianni (archive footage) (uncredited), Amedeo Nazzari (archive footage) (uncredited), Suzy Prim (archive footage) (uncredited), Donna Reed (archive footage) (uncredited), Jane Russell (archive footage) (uncredited), Rosalind Russell (archive footage) (uncredited), Yvonne Sanson (archive footage) (uncredited), Maria Schell (archive footage) (uncredited), Norma Shearer (archive footage) (uncredited), Simone Signoret (archive footage uncredited), Alberto Sordi (archive footage) (uncredited), James Stewart (archive footage) (uncredited), Totò (archive footage) (uncredited), Spencer Tracy (archive footage) (uncredited), Claire Trevor (archive footage) (uncredited), Rudolph Valentino (archive footage) (uncredited), Alida Valli (archive footage) (uncredited)and John Wayne (archive footage) (uncredited)

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore

Producers: Franco Cristaldi, Giovanna Romagnoli and Gabriella Carosio (delegate producer: RAI)

Screenplay: Giuseppe Tornatore (story/screenplay), Vanna Paoli (collaborating writer) and Richard Epcar (English version)

Cinematographer: Blasco Giurato (Director of Photography)

Composers: Ennio Morricone and Andrea Morricone

Image Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Audio: Italian: 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio
Italian: 5.1 HD-DTS Master Audio
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English

Running Time: 124 minutes and 174 minutes

Region: Region B/2

Number of discs: 2

Studio: Umbrella Entertainment / Arrow Academy

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: In the film ‘CINEMA PARADISO’ [1998] a famous Rome film director, Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita [Jacques Perrin], learns of the death of an elderly film projectionist, Alfredo [Philippe Noiret], and flashes back to his formative years growing up in a small post-war Sicilian village under Alfredo's tutelage. In the village of Giancaldo, Salvatore's childhood revolved around the local cinema, the Cinema Paradiso, and the elderly projectionist Alfredo [Philippe Noiret] who schooled the young Salvatore [Salvatore Cascio] on the magic of cinema and functioned as a father figure to the impressionable boy whose mother [Antonella Attili] pines for the husband she lost in World War II.

The successful Italian film director, Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita [Jacques Perrin], returns to his home village of Giancaldo, Sicily for the funeral of his old friend, Alfredo [Philippe Noiret], who was the projectionist at the local cinema throughout his childhood. As he returns to the old haunts, and as his girlfriend begins to ask him who the mysterious “Alfredo” was. Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita flashes back to his childhood in a post-war Italy, and soon memories of his first love affair with the beautiful Elena and all the high, lows and passions that would shape his adult life come flooding back, as Salvatore Cascio reconnects with the community he left 30 years earlier.

For what forms almost the entire first hour of the film, the action concerns itself with Salvatore Cascio's childhood years, firmly establishing both his newly discovered love of the cinema and his growing relationship and deep friendship with the father-like Alfredo, whilst his relationship at home with his own mother grows increasingly more fraught in the wake of his father's absence at war, before a clever visual device instantly advances the film a decade and introduces us to the now adolescent “Toto.”

‘Nuovo Cinema Paradiso’ [Italian pronunciation: 'nw''vo 't'i'nema para'di'zo], “New Paradise Cinema” Internationally released as ‘CINEMA PARADISO’ and is a 1988 Italian drama film written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. Upon its original Italian release the film ran to a total of 155 minutes, however due to a poor box office performance in its native country the film was withdrawn and cut considerably, to a more manageable length of 123 minutes, for its international release which subsequently became an instant success, and it is this theatrical release which garnered the film's numerous awards and widespread acclaim.

In 2002, film audiences saw the release of a third cut of the film, the arguably superior extended “Director's Cut,” which runs at a fairly lengthy 174 minutes and incorporates a good deal more of Salvatore's back-story, effectively expanding on his relationship with Elena and incorporating a moving scene in which the pair reunite after a lengthy separation, adding both a greater sense of dimension and thematic depth to the overall piece.

Not only does Giuseppe Tornatore proved himself as a director of great quality and vision, he also ascertains himself as a master storyteller and fine screenwriter, charting Salvatore Di Vita's coming of age tale with great skill and fine attention to detail, suitably evoking a strong emotional response from the audience and beautifully balancing moments of humour and pathos; Giuseppe Tornatore deservedly picked up the BAFTA® film award for Best Original Screenplay for his work.

Of course in watching the film, one of the great joys for any true cinema aficionados is in both identifying all the films screened at the eponymous Cinema Paradiso, from Jean Renoir's `Les bas-fonds' ['The Lower Depths'] [1936] to Luchino Visconti's ground-breaking Neo-realist drama `La Terra Trema' [1948] and Mario Mattoli's now rarely-seen musical comedy `I pompieri di Viggiù' [`The Firemen of Viggiu'] [1949], and picking up on all the various quotes and subtle cinematic references weaved throughout the film. Performances across the board are quite superb, from Philippe Noiret's impeccably judged, BAFTA® Award-winning performance as Alfredo, to Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi and Jacques Perrin's respective performances as the child, adolescent and adult incarnations of Salvatore, with the BAFTA® Award-winning Salvatore Cascio for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and delivering one of the most memorable child performances in cinema as the wide-eyed young “Toto.”

Lensed by the Italian cinematographer Blasco Giurato, ‘CINEMA PARADISO’ proves quite the visual treat, perfectly capturing the alluring quality of the tonal Sicilian vistas, carefully observing how life within the village has evolved over the course of the film and cleverly juxtaposing the magic-realist quality of the cinema with the Neo-realist tones of contemporary Italian society with his own beautifully composed original photography. Ennio Morricone's beautifully orchestrated, string-heavy score is a work of both great beauty and emotional power, accompanying the visuals with stirring effect, and the fact that he was overlooked for an Academy Award® nomination for his composition is a great travesty; not to mention the fact that the film received only a single Academy Award® nomination, but then again, what do awards matter?

Shot on location in director Giuseppe Tornatore 's hometown of Bagheria, Sicily, as well as Cefalù on the Tyrrhenian Sea, ‘CINEMA PARADISO’ proves an incredibly personal, powerful and affecting examination of friendship, love and cinema, and often described as a work of “nostalgic postmodernism.” beautifully combines sentimentality, humour and pathos with a reflective and profound, generation-spanning coming of age tale to deliver what is without doubt one of cinema's greatest and most passionate celebrations of film, perfectly capturing the true essence of cinema and the endearing magical quality of film-watching.

With this incredibly popular film, Giuseppe Tornatore’s made ‘CINEMA PARADISO’ one of the great statements on film, by a film. We see that, for some, a cinema theatre is more than just a location of passive entertainment. It’s a place where memories are made and shared, where people escape, where people fall in love, learn about life, feel happy, feel sad, and on and on. And knowing this, and constructing his film thusly, Giuseppe Tornatore’s creates a film that not only reproduces these sensations but has the potential to produce them as well. Fashionable and common in terms of the story it tells and how it tells it, ‘Cinema Paradiso’ is nevertheless an effective work, and a powerful one. Though it could be argued that these formulaic and romanticised aspects make for a less than challenging or substantial film, it could just as easily be contested that they epitomize what films do best: they move us, they inform us, and they hold us captive and then carry us away in delightful or despairing rapture. Giuseppe Tornatore’s film shows, and embodies, movie magic and its place in the lives of so many.

Blu-ray Image Quality – ‘CINEMA PARADISO' was exclusively restored by Arrow Films for this Blu-ray release. The original 35mm camera negative elements were scanned in 2K resolution at Technicolor Rome, with all grading and restoration work completed at Deluxe Digital Cinema, EMEA in London. In comparison to the previously released and reviewed Miramax edition of ‘CINEMA PARADISO’ on Blu-ray in the USA, I would say, there is no comparison. This new edition from Arrow Academy wins hands down. It arrives in a beautiful 1080p image quality and while darks may have a little less detail extension, the result is an image that looks richer, and offers better contrast. The grain structure is also sharper, more textured, and detail extends farther into the background. In comparison to the Arrow Academy Blu-ray, whereas the Miramax release looks very inferior. Finally the subtitles are not flawless in their translation with sometimes literal choices overcoming more appropriate options e.g. does anyone say “cut your mouth out,” “surely it's the slip of the tongue.” Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – This Blu-ray disc sound is very much improved. There are two options for both films, there is the Italian: 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio and the Italian: 5.1 HD-DTS Master Audio mix. It is nice to have both, but I found the 5.1 audio mix front loaded and lacking coverage with the rear speakers. But despite this, the audio mix suites this film really well and gives the film a nice ambience presentation.  

Blu-ray Special Edition Features and Extras:

Special Feature: A Dream of Sicily [2000] [1080p] [1.60:1] [54:47] This is a beautiful just over 54-minute documentary profile of director Giuseppe Tornatore being interviewed and viewing extracts from his early home movies as well as interviews with director Francesco Rosi and painter Peppino Ducato, and set to music by the legendary Ennio Morricone. The documentary produced for either an Italian TV screening or a home video release in which Giuseppe Tornatore explores the influence on his work of the Sicily of his childhood, which is illustrated with extracts from his films, including early documentary material shot in his home town of Bagheria. Rather thrillingly, this includes the very first footage he ever filmed, done on a borrowed camera at the age of 13 and whose framing and eye for arresting imagery puts the work of the average first year UK media student to shame. He charts his development through the people, places, events and films of the time and place, not in the style of a linear documentary portrait but the fragmented manner with which we tend to remember our past. It's an intriguing piece, although a couple of name captions are not translated and it is useful to know, for example, just who Peppino Ducato is to better contextualise his contribution, and Burt Lancaster's English monologue from Luchino Visconti's ‘The Leopard’ [Il Gattopardo] [1963] is curiously also subtitled in English, subtitles that retain the meaning of the speech but do not accurately reproduce the words. This was a FANDANGO and TELE + collaboration.

Special Feature: A Bear and a Mouse in Paradise [2006] [1080i] [1.78:1 / 1.60:1] [27:28] This beautiful 2006 documentary on the genesis of the making of ‘CINEMA PARADISO,’ featuring the characters of Toto and Alfredo, and also featuring interviews with the actors who played them, Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio as well as Giuseppe Tornatore. Giuseppe Tornatore recalls his first experiences of cinema and how the idea for the film came about, then focusses on the key roles of Alfredo and young “Toto” and the actors who play them, with actors Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio, now an adult, of course, providing their own recollections. Philippe Noiret in particular has some engaging memories, describing Salvatore Cascio as “a real brat because he came to be ruler of the shoot,” but quickly tempering this with “He knew to be an actor he had to be a creator and a performer. He always invented new things. He was always spot on.” His story of Salvatore Cascio's hatred of his cigars is backed up by an extract from what looks like the Cannes press conference, and he describes the shoot itself as an exhausting experience. Giuseppe Tornatore also talks about the main square location and the difficulty of shooting two key scenes involving the cinema exterior. A very illuminating special feature.

Special Feature: The Kissing Sequence [2006] [1080i] [1.78:1 / 1.60:1] [7:03] Giuseppe Tornatore discusses the origins of the kissing scenes with full clips identifying each scene. Giuseppe Tornatore outlines how the idea of a priest censoring the films being shown in a provincial cinema was drawn from real-life, albeit stories told to him rather than first-hand experience, and discusses one of the film's most fondly remembered sequences, for which we're also given a textual breakdown of the actors and films involved and I cannot reveal more without delivering spoilers for first-time viewers.

25th Anniversary Trailer [2013] [1080p] [1.78:1] [1:42] Headed by a Guardian reader poll that proclaims this is “The greatest foreign film of all time” and I won't even start with what's wrong with that technically impossible claim, and a “timeless classic” and of course classics are always timeless, this does play on the film's romanticism and sentimentality, but it is still a reasonable sell.

Audio Commentary with director Giuseppe Tornatore and Italian cinema expert critic Millicent Marcus: Millicent Marcus's commentary is fine if you are new to the film and want a companion who tells you the meaning of the action throughout with some biographical detail. She is supplemented by excerpts of Giuseppe Tornatore speaking in English, explaining things like Philippe Noiret's casting and the importance of certain producers. Her approach is not very critical though and for the cine-literate viewers her explanation of what film is showing in the cinema may seem obvious. The commentary is only available on the Theatrical cut. Sometimes in the past I am not always a big fan of so-called “expert” audio commentary tracks, though I usually say that to introduce one that is actually an enthralling listen. The one here is provided by Millicent Marcus, Professor of Italian at Yale University and author of a number of books on Italian cinema, and I'd love to tell you that this is just such a commentary, but frankly it's anything but. Most of the time Ms. Millicent Marcus simply describes what's happening on screen (“Here we have Don Ciccio, the proprietor of the ‘CINEMA PARADISO’ arguing with his distributor”) or observes the purpose of shots or edits, which should be obvious to even a half-aware viewer. At times it plays almost like an audio description for the visually impaired (an irony that will not be lost on those who've seen the film). Perhaps the most bemusing moment for non-Italian speakers comes when Millicent Marcus elects to stop talking for a while to allow us to listen to a story Alfredo is telling the teenage Salvatore Di Vita, which is delivered in Italian and without English subtitles (you can call them up with the pop-up menu, but they're not on by default for the commentary track). Just occasionally Marcus breaks with her descriptive approach to offer a snippet of useful cultural detail and at one point finds parallels between the adoration of cinema and religious belief, a frankly fascinating theory that deserves to explored in more depth that it is here. Best of all are some welcome contributions from director Giuseppe Tornatore himself, which while teasingly brief and sparsely located, are always interesting.

Director's Cut Trailer [1998] [1080i] [1.37:1] [1:22] “Experience the passion that spanned the years,” the cheerfully warm narration for the 1.37:1 aspect ratio framed American trailer for the director cut assures us of the love of the film. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the love story is pushed to the fore here instead. Still, this trailer is really aimed at the American cinema public.

BONUS: Special Booklet: It has a beautiful designed 32 page booklet that features a new writing on the film by Italian cinema expert Pasquale Iannone, illustrated with original colourful archive stills. The only negative aspect of this booklet is that the wording is very hard to read, as it is printed in a silver grey typeface against a black colour background. Contents include: STOLEN KISSES: TORATORE’S CINEMA PARADISO by Pasquale Iannone. BEHIND THE SCENES OF CINEMA PARADISO GALLERY. PROJECTIONIST’S  NOTES. ABOUT THE TRANSFER. PRODUCTION CREDITS. SPECIAL THANKS.

Finally, ‘CINEMA PARADISO’ is such a fantastic classic film with heart-warming performances from Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio who is such a delightful little child that you can forgive his misbehaviour. The big question is: if you already own this on DVD, is it worth buying the Blu-ray? The Audio/Video quality is of such a high calibre quality standard, that even the best looking DVD that has been up-scaled looks poor by comparison. The inclusion of the isolated score is terrific as this is one of the very best scores that Ennio Morricone wrote in his long and illustrious career and makes up for the missing documentary. None of the previous releases have adequately produced a surround track to properly showcase the beautiful score and this is the first to do so. This is a classic film which has been given the presentation it deserves and, whether you own the inferior DVD or not, this purchase is definitely a must have purchase and it has been a total honour to add this to my ever expanding Blu-ray Collection. But as a final conclusion, as you know I sign off with the name of my home entitled “Le Cinema Paradiso,” well the reason for this is because ‘CINEMA PARADISO’ is such an all-time magical experience and one of my all-time favourite film and that is  why I named my home after this glorious intelligent film, but of course I suspect you are asking yourself why did I add the word “Le,” well I did it to make it sound something very special and very different and it has worked, as I often get asked this particular question. Very Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado 
Le Cinema Paradiso 
United Kingdom

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