Cinema Paradiso (The New Version) (2002)

Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1988 tribute to cinema’s potential as an emotional, expressive and formative artistic expression is unlike anything else that’s ever been done, and this extended cut does the original version justice while adding fascinating, formerly deleted scenes that fundamentally alter the experience without taking anything away from what came before. From the few opening frames it’s clear this movie is something special, following its central character Totoro from impoverished 1940s Sicily as he abandons himself to the fictional worlds of the movies he sees at the Cinema Paradiso as he simultaneously matures and learns about adulthood. The musical score itself is pure heaven, and fans of cinema should pursue this bit of majestic drama. Salvatore Cascio gives one of the best child performances ever recorded on film, up there with Victoire Thivisol in “Ponette” and Catinca Untaru from Tarsem Sing’s “The Fall.”

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

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