Cinema Paradiso

DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Keith Dudhnath's film review of Cinema Paradiso
Cinema Paradiso

This 'definitive' edition of director Giuseppe Tornatore's film is two discs heavier than the previous DVD release - but is it worth trading up?

Certainly the film has never looked better. It has been remastered for this edition meaning that the scratching present on the previous release is a thing of the past. The sound doesn't fare quite so well in the scrubbed up version but there isn't a massive amount of call for bangs and whistles, so it is fine.

Copy picture

In terms of extras, this edition is considerably more fleshed out than the previous double disc offering. The largest of these is, oddly, the weakest. A Dream Of Sicily sees Tornatore talking about his home town of Bagheria and his relationship with it. He details his reasons for becoming a director and is in nostalgic frame of mind as he considers other Sicilians who have had an impact on him. His comments overlay images both of present-day Bagheria and footage he shot as he took his first steps towards directorship.

Written down, this sounds quite interesting but this 52-minute documentary, although sporadically interesting, lacks pace. There are also a couple of odd technical decisions present on the disc. One is that the other 'talking heads' aren't properly introduced, meaning that an non-Italian struggles to work out who the likes of director Francesco Rossi - an influence on Tornatore - are. Equally odd, is the decision to subtitle a quote from The Leopard which is read out in English. This sees phrases such as "voluptuous immobility" 'translated' as "sensual stillness". Presumably this is because the subtitles are a different version of the translation from the Italian than the Burt Lancaster film but, either way, it's confusing.

Much better is The Kissing Sequence. Taking a key piece of the film - which I won't detail for fear of spoiling your enjoyment - it analyses how it was composed and the choices Tornatore made, along with a rundown of its detailed composition. This - along with all the extras - should definitely be watched after you have seen the film.

By far the best extra on the disc is the 26-minute A Bear And A Mouse In Paradise. Here Tornatore talks about the casting of the movie - in particular the roles of the young Toto and Alfredo - and also explains how there came to be two versions of the film. This entertaining documentary also features interviews with Phillipe Noiret (Alfredo) and Salvatore Cascio (little Toto, now all grown up). They chat about the difficulties and triumphs of making the film.

A stills gallery and trailer from the 12th anniversary re-release - why no original trailer? - complete the third disc. The box set also comes with a soundtrack of Ennio Morricone's score, which wasn't with my review copy but I'm sure it's all fine and dandy.

If you don't already have a copy of Cinema Paradiso, then this is definitely a must-have, the film is lovely and worth having in your collection in its own right. For those who already have a version, the choice is not so clear. Certainly it looks better than ever before and the extras add value but, unless you have a deep love of Tornatore's work, you may wish to stick with the version you have already.

Reviewed on: 01 Apr 2007
Share this with others on...
Cinema Paradiso packshot
A story of love of the cinema and love of a woman.
Amazon link

Read more Cinema Paradiso disc reviews:

Alkaliguru: DVD

Product Code: FCD243

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: A Dream Of Sicily, A Bear And A Mouse In Paradise, The Kissing Sequence, trailer, stills gallery, CD soundtrack of Ennio Morricone's Score

Search database: