To the priest in a small Italian town, the Splendor cinema (now sold for redevelopment) is a 'dark grotto of sin'; to owner Jordan (Mastroianni), it's a shrine. But writer/director Scola is more concerned with the grey areas between such views: the patrons who desert cinema in droves when TV offers cheap, undemanding entertainment. Using flashback and clips, he conveys something of the medium's superiority over the box, at the same time beautifully unravelling a tale of life-long devotion and hard graft from Jordan, his long-term lover/usherette (Vlady), and the projectionist (Troisi). Their temperamental relationships over two decades are conveyed with great affection by the accomplished cast; and the film is full of wonderful moments - such as the homage to Capra at the climax - which manage to be both magical and unsentimental.
Cast and crew