This is no mere cash-in, but director Tornatore's original cut, which flopped so badly on its Italian release, was withdrawn, trimmed to 123 minutes, and entered at the 1989 Cannes festival. The rest is cinematic history. Ironically, however, the two-hour version is substantially inferior to the expansive, roundly satisfying original. Largely unaltered is the nostalgic chronicle of Salvatore, a Sicilian youngster's formative relationship with his local movie house and its wise projectionist; still enshrined are the affectionate performances of Cascio and Noiret. The reinstated material follows the much older Salvatore (Perrin) on his traumatic return home, shows what happens when he meets up with his never-forgotten teenage paramour (the previously excised Brigitte Fossey), and alters the tone of the film, darkening it considerably. Here we experience a catalogue of loss, betrayal and regret which renders the paean to celluloid romance a more complex finale, bitter-sweet yet ineffably emotive. A masterpiece restored, Tornatore's film is, literally, a revelation.
Cinema Paradiso: The Special Edition
Cast and crew
Nicolo Di Pinto