It is always the classics that holds true to a person’s dedication, love and loyalty. Every individual has something that they hold dear to their hearts let alone soul; that something is always different.
Cinema Paradiso is a moving and nostalgic story that shows the life of Salvatore – a young boy growing up with the cinema into a man who makes it his way of life. Growing up along side the growth and progress of the cinema, Salvatore developed a very deep passion, just like his Mentor to produce and show something spectacular and true. Sadly, coming from a poor background, the only thing that Salvatore could do was sit and help his mentor, Alfredo, out in making sure the film went smoothly as possible without any obstructions and perversions. Wanting to express his thoughts and creativity through film, Salvatore soon picked up a hobby of video recording daily life in his town. It was from this that he met the love of his life. As usual, there is a passionate and blooming romance that soon falls apart once his love leaves town for good. As such, his world goes a bit crazy as he is then sent to complete his military duty. Sadly, it is because of this that he loses his job at the cinema making his world even more devastating giving him an option to move away and start a new life elsewhere. As such, the rest of the movie goes on when Salvatore has to go back to his hometown for Alfredo’s funeral. Having been away for so long,, he realized that so much had changed – not only in his life but for the cinematic life as well.
(Young Salvatore) (Older Salvatore)
Throughout the course of the entire movie the sense of the struggles the protagonist goes through, the passion he feels, the pain of leaving something is all felt strongly. There were a lot of scenes that held a lot of symbolic meaning and I would like to discuss a few of them.
1) The scene where Alfredo and Salvatore are discussing Salvatore’s future
In this particular scene, the setting is in a dock area where the discussion is taking place. Slowly as the scene takes place, the number of anchors present all around increased. This symbolized the discussion of Salvatore being held down by his past and his current beliefs. The build up of anchors in the scene not only shows the number of constraints and entanglements but the weight of it all as well limiting him from ever becoming greater and bigger in life.
2) The ending scene of Salvatore watching the film Alfredo left for him
This scene was not simply a scene of a gift given by Alfredo nor was it only a scene depicting Alfredo’s love for him. It was a scene that depicted Salvatore’s passion for film, the rawness and the unfiltered capture of life. With such a build up of things hidden from society, the sudden revelation of what was once hidden gave Salvatore a sense of freedom and in a way, closure. To finally see what was kept from him as a child gave him a new appreciation and understanding of the old ways.
3) The simple transitions between the past and current life of Salvatore
The simplicity of a chime made the who transportation between Salvatore’s life a whole lot more impacting. The sound that is heard triggers memories of how everything started. With a renewed understanding, Salvatore looks at the small details that made him who he was today. Gratefulness for all that Alfredo had done for him no matter how ridiculous or harsh it was at that time surged up within Salvatore. (I must say, the fact that I could feel this all from the movie shows how brilliant the directing and acting was!)
4) The unraveling of the knitted pattern
This scene was quite blatant in its symbolism. Once Salvatore comes home, the mom gets up to go and welcome Salvatore as she had not seen him for more than 30 odd years. The unraveling of her knitting work showed that there was a journey that everyone was taking right from the beginning and that a new beginning was soon to be made for all. As simple as this scene was, it was one of the most simple and powerful scenes. With a new beginning and relationships imminent, everybody had a chance to tie off unfinished ends. In a way, you could say that Alfredo, even though on his deathbed, did bring everybody together again as people would have learned to appreciate each other much more!
5) All the sexual scenes
As weird as the scenes were, they did hold a symbolic meaning to the movie (to me at least!) They portrayed the passion of cinema experienced by all. And the fact that they were going through really harsh times, the cinema provided a different and romantic environment for all to get lost in. (I know this does sound a bit weird, but this is how I saw it)
Cinema Paradiso is truly a masterpiece – it displayed the romantic side of human nature amazingly!