Saturday 18 December 2010

Nuovo Cinema Paradiso

It's December and apart from planning for Christmas, it usually means it is time to have a think about what movies have been been watched over the past year and how they rank amongst each other. I've been thinking about this over the last few weeks and have a fair idea of what the top 5 are and what order they are in but there is one notable exception which will not be on the list. There was one movie I watched this year which would definitely be top of the list but I am not including it as it was not a 2010 release. The film in question was Giuseppe Tornatore's 1988 Award Winning Nuovo Cinema Paradiso [or Cinema Paradiso for the international release].

Do you ever watch a film that you come away from feeling this could be the best thing you have ever seen? I'm not talking about the latest effects laden blockbuster which is a visual spectacle like nothing before. I mean the film where the story and performances are key with the perfect musical accompanyment in the background. Not since seeing Almost Famous had a film done this to me. There was just something about the story that was gripping and left you speechless at the filmmakers ability.

The film is about a modern day director's reflection on his childhood in the Sicilian town of Giancaldo after he receives a phonecall to tell him his friend and mentor Alfredo has passed away. What follows is a tale of friendship, love and tragedy as we see Toto grow up and finally leave the town, only to return to attend Alfredo's funeral. The finale played along to Morricone's score is a touching piece of filmmaking. Don't worry, you learn about the death withing the first few minutes so I haven't spoiled anything.

The ironic thing about Cinema Paradiso was that I knew nothing about it and had no intention of seeing it. It wasn't until I was in FOPP one day earlier in the year. They had the deluxe set going cheap so decided it might be worth a punt especially as it was on the IMDB Top 250 which I was slowly working my way through at the time. I'm glad I did buy it and even moreso that it was the 4-disc set. The score by Ennio Morricone is majestic. It is one you could easily listen to independently and definitely cements him as one of the finest composers in my opinion. Check out the video below for a sample of the score.

I didn't allow this one on the list but I will be back withing the next couple of weeks with my top 5 of 2010 releases.
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