Saturday, March 8, 2008

the friday night movie club

Those lovable folks who brought you the Empty Nest Hiking Club (that would be the Hub and me) now present... the Friday Night Movie Club! However, whereas the hiking club was intentionally planned, the movie club just sort of evolved into being. Friday nights have become a time to either go out to a movie or rent a film we've missed over the years.

Last night we decided to rent a movie Offspring #2 had been encouraging us to see: Cinema Paradiso, an Italian film which won an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language category in 1989. (We watched the original and not the newer, longer version.)

In short, I loved it.

The film takes place in Sicily, just after WWII and in the final years before television. There are two main characters: Alfredo, who runs the projection booth at the local cinema, and Salvatore, a young boy who is intrigued by every aspect of the movies. Salvatore (also called Toto) becomes an apprentice to Alfredo, who gradually assumes the role of the boy's beloved mentor and surrogate father.

I won't go into all the plot details (you need to rent it!)... but the film, which is visually stunning and has a beautiful soundtrack, depicts the interplay between film and life. I think it also has a lot to say on the topic of change. The reality one needs to accept is that inevitably times change and people change. Alfredo, in fact, advises Salvatore to leave the little village, because clinging to the past would keep the young man from moving forward.

Also of interest is the importance of (and treatment of) religion in the film. The story is revealed through flashback, and the earliest view of young Toto is as an alterboy. Later, Salvatore (Toto) as a teen woos his love interest in a confession booth in the church. Yet the church is not portrayed favorably. The priest has the power to censor what he considers carnal excess (usually a kiss) in the movies. The cinema rather than the church is actually the most religiously attended place by the villagers. Even the name of "Salvatore" suggests that movies serve as a type of salvation.

I think this film would be a great one to watch and discuss in a group setting. If you haven't seen it, here's a taste of Cinema Paradiso via youtube:
Note: I'm adding a SPOILER WARNING to the youtube as per Offspring #2's comment. The video does give a few things away, but go ahead and watch if you don't mind that.


David said...

yeah! That's one of my favorites. I knew you would see it if I kept mentioning that you should see it whenever you brought up you were viewing some other movie.

I didn't notice the "salvatore - salvation" connection before, you always have those religious wheels turning in your brain, very nice. You picked up on some nice themes, I'm glad you appreciated it like I did.

Are you sure you want to leave that youtube video up for people who are planning on seeing it?? It gives away a few things!

Barbara B. said...

Hmm... good point on the youtube clip. I'll add a 'spoiler' warning. :)

Rev SS said...

sounds like a good film to add to my long list of movies I want to see ... and sounds like a much better option than Kelso theatre for last night. :)

David said...

You should definitely see it Serena, you'd love it. And an additional reason would be so you could get the following joke pertaining to the movie.

Given your pious status you should carry a bell with you to every movie you see in theaters and use it when you see fit!

Barbara B. said...

LOL, david!
Yes, SS, you will have to see the movie now just to get David's joke. :)

Rev SS said...

You are both master teasers! :)

dust bunny said...

gotta watch my reissued copy of 101 Dalmations first.

Presbyterian Gal said...

Is this sub titled? Sometimes I fall asleep with sub titled movies. Except for Babette's Feast and Like Water for Chocolate (food themes....)

Looks like a good movie. The song was beautiful.

Barbara B. said...

Haha--food themes! :)

Yep, it has subtitles, but I guarantee you will stay awake!

Jan said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I'm always looking for new movies to order from Netflix.

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

Adding to my list. Thanks.

Diane said...

oh, I want us to rent that one!!!!

do you have Netflix?
just wondering.

Barbara B. said...

I think you'd love it, Diane.
Nope, we don't have Netflix. We either go to Blockbuster or "rent" directly off our cable tv (Comcast "on demand").