R | 2h 35min
Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
by Jason Koenigsberg
In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up, why not watch one of the most romantic movies I have ever seen. This is a great coming of age movie about a boy falling in love and becoming a man but it is even more than that. Cinema Paradiso is the greatest love letter to the power of motion pictures ever made. It was a huge international hit and deservedly won the 1989 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Make no mistake this film thematically has more in common with the works of Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese that many other pictures. On the surface it has very little to do with films like Inglorious Basterds (2009) or Hugo (2011), but beneath it, that love of movies and how cinema brings people together and helps them fall in love is paramount to those pictures and the powerful impact movies can have on our culture. Director Giuseppe Torntatore clearly put his autobiographical stamp on Cinema Paradiso and this is one of the most personal romances you are likely to see, but it also taps into a universal emotion that everyone who loves movies can connect with. I slightly prefer the theatrical version over the longer directors cut, but both are excellent and have similar emotional impact.
Cinema Paradiso is currently available to stream on Netflix.