Cinema Paradiso

The movies are a place for everyone to briefly forget any problems or make ones good day even better. In any movie one person can experience a wide variety of emotions and can always turn a bad day around. In the film Cinema Paradiso the movies are a place to go that promote community and love in Sicily after the devastation that was the Second World War. Many families lost everything they had: their loved ones, any financial security, work and happiness. The movies brought the people together in community and reminded them that there is still good in the world and connected them with the world outside of their town.

Although there was so much loss and hurt around the community, one of the main themes in the film is love/community. The people always congregate in the plaza. The plaza is a place to relax, converse, it is an artistic center, it brings the people together when everything good seemed so distant. One of the greatest examples of love is through the relationship of Toto and Alfredo. The film begins with Toto receiving the news of the death of his beloved friend and father figure and then flashes back to him as a young child. Alfredo is a projectionist in the Cinema Paradiso and the Toto is a clever, witty little rascal whose love for films brings them together. At the beginning of their story Alfredo seems to think that Toto is a little pest that won’t leave him to do his job, but soon realizes that he wouldn’t be able to do his job with out him. They quickly become friends and realize that they need each other to survive. Alfredo becomes Toto’s father figure, guiding him through life in the absence of his real father while Toto keeps Alfredo young at heart. Even though Alfredo says at one point: “Out of the fire of love come ashes. Even the greatest love eventually fizzles out.” The love between the two never dies. There are instances where they get mad at each other or (mostly Toto) cause problems for the other, they know that they need each other and will always be there for the other no matter what. They are all each other have and a bond like theirs is unbreakable. Toto’s greatest example of love for Alfredo is when he risks his own life and health to drag Alfredo from the crumbling theater when the film catches fire. Because Toto is a brilliant, clever boy he is able to take over the job.

Another theme is the relationship between state and church. The church controlled many aspects of the people’s lives, especially when it came to the censorship of movies. The priest would watch all of the films before they were released and cut out any scene that had to do with love and affection or anything that was not acceptable in the eyes of the church. This usually left the audience disappointed after the excitement of the build up to that point. One exclaimed that he had never seen two people in a movie kiss. The audience was being deprived of the portrayal of love in films. In this time all they needed was hope in a better today and tomorrow, a hope for that problem could be solved with love, that love existed in the world. Once the movies begin show the kiss and other sexual scenes the people became exponentially happier.


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