I never used to watch Foreign films. It was just something that had never intrigued me, precisely because they’re not in English, and for some reason, I never thought they could compare to a Hollywood movie. But I’ve now discovered, I was terribly, terribly wrong, but that’s because I had no actual working brain before, you know?
I’m starting to watch more Foreign based films as I grow older and start thinking more, and in truth, I haven’t racked up that many to call upon any form of expertise on foreign films. In fact, most of the foreign films I’ve watched, which probably accounts to three(a sad but growing number), were urged and suggested viewing by my dad, and thank god for that.
So as you’ve probably guessed by now, this is gonna be about a Foreign Film, and a really, really nice one at that.
I began watching this movie with this strange, heartfelt storyteller feeling. I wanted to see and hear and feel something from a beautiful story, because my dad, sister, and I were sitting around our couches after eating dinner, listening to some of the greatest soundtracks of all time (not my words, YouTube’s words, but they actually are the greatest soundtracks of all time)on Youtube from our television. It’s formed into some kind of habit of ours while eating dinner over the past few months and listening to these soundtracks. It’s actually become a really memorable and nice feeling. But anyways, I was feeling in the mood to watch a movie, and a great one. So we took our chances with Netflix, and went with Cinema Paradiso. Just Kidding. Of Course, my dad picked out the movie, remembering watching it as a kid. And no matter what, my dad always has the best taste in movies, it’s almost a blessing, but I also think a lot of it came from his dad. Maybe it’s a family gene. Anyways, the first scene in the movie started out with this view of the ocean from the balcony, with a large bowl right in the middle of the balcony’s edge, slowly inching further away from it as the music plays in the background, and after a while, all I can think of is…when can we get this freaking scene over with? Not a good way to start out a movie, but now, as I think back on it, I think the director was showing us a beginning, obviously, but to be more specific, the beginning of Salvatore ‘Toto’ Di Vita and his home.
I guess my next approach here should probably be centered on telling you who exactly Salvatore ‘Toto’ Di Vita is. This person is the main character of Cinema Paradiso; as a matter a fact, he IS Cinema Paradiso. The movie begins first with a call from Salvatore’s mother, who calls an older Salvatore Toto to tell him a man named Alfredo has died. In these first few scenes, we take a small glance at the life of Salvatore Di Vita without knowing at all the person he was before. What we do know is he hasn’t been to his original home in over 30 years, lives in a nice house, has a girlfriend who answers Toto’s mother’s call, and tells Salvatore Alfredo has died. But the most significant part of this whole misinformed set of scenes is the moment Salvatore’s lays down in bed, and the women (his girlfriend) next to him asks him, ‘Who is Alfredo?’ Actually, there’s something else when the mother is about to make the call that’s pretty important, but that’s too important to understand in the beginning of the movie.
And I’ve only just realized how important that single question is to this entire movie asked by this random, unimportant woman. Just now. But that’s now your own little endeavor to discover.
Anyways, from the moment ‘Who is Alfredo?’ is asked, we enter a completely different world, set in a little town/village in Italy, rugged brick buildings, holy priest in an elaborate church, fountains in the middle of town squares, dusty grounds, quiet and peaceful ocean side: as I said, the most ordinary of little Italian villages, and then add a little Italian boy named Salvatore to the scene, sitting inside the old village movie theater, Cinema Paradiso, flashes of movie scenes streaming across his face, surrounded by a rather large and squished crowd of enthusiastic moviegoers in a theater with only limited seats.
I was supposed to write this review on Cinema Paradiso 2 months ago… I’ve been yearning to watch it ever since. I just want to say, before I close this entry out for good, this movie will introduce to you a sensation of a sweetly blissful, confusingly ambitious, happily warm feeling in your gut, stomach, and heart. When the movie reaches its end, it unknowingly leaves you yearning for something, anything, and you may not even know what. Maybe Rome, maybe love, maybe childhood. It’s weird, I keep on saying “you” but I’m truthfully referring to myself. It’s a great movie, and at first I didn’t even know why I loved it so much, maybe I still don’t really: I just do.
I’ll be sure to watch it again, and probably write another review for it, a complete one at least. I’m trying to study the films I watch more closely than before. Thinking about what the story means, the details incorporated, the angles of shots and everything. But at the same time I could care less about that, and just watch an awesome movie with an awesome story.