Cinema Paradiso, 1988

Cinema Paradiso, released in 1988 is an Italian film written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. The film is about the flash back and childhood of Toto and his journey to becoming a movie projectionist.

The most interesting and entertaining character in Cinema Paradiso is Toto. A reoccurring theme and focus of the film is about the younger Toto. He always seems to find himself in trouble because of his curiosity and love for film. Though he finds himself in many awkward situations, he is an extremely witty and smart child.

An example of Toto’s wit is when he and Alfredo are on a walk. Exhausted and warm, Toto gets lazy and does not want to walk anymore. He knows that if he stops or complains he could potentially get in trouble. Grumpy and ready to be done with this walk, Toto falls to the ground in pain. He starts screaming and begins to grab his ankle. Worried, quickly Alfredo comes to him. The scene cuts and then goes to the following scene with Toto on a horse with Alfredo riding on the back. Toto’s smile could not be any bigger. This is one of many examples of Toto’s wit.

Throughout the whole movie Toto is learning and spending time at the local movie house. His greatest mentor in the film is Alfredo. Toto’s father is fighting in the war, which leads Alfredo to develop into a father figure for him. Sneaking into the movie theater, hiding behind the curtains, Toto watches the edits that are being made to the movie. Laughing and smiling, Toto gets to see all of the scenes that are cut out for many movies. At that time there were no physical and sexual scenes allowed in movies. After Toto watches the run through of the film he would run up to the film booth and watch Alfredo ever so closely while he makes edits and works on the film reels and machines. Constantly getting into trouble, Toto always tried to steal the cut out scenes from the film. After collecting them for a while, Toto accumulated many bits and pieces of film that he would look at by a candle before going to bed. Reciting lines from the film and acting out scenes becomes a ritual for him. He keeps all of his film and some pictures in a bin under his family’s bed. His love for film took over his life. From when Toto wakes up till he goes to bed he is always thinking about film. When Alfredo and Toto come back from their walk, where Toto fakes an injury then come across Toto’s family who is crying and panic. Apparently the film under the bed was kept too close to the fire and caught flame. Film back then was still flammable and was very dangerous to have by fire. Toto is yelled at and hit during this scene by his mother. His mother also blames Alfredo for giving him film and for helping develop his passion for film. His love for film almost burnt down his family’s home.

Overall, through Toto’s wit and passion for film he truly develops into an admirable character in the film. He becomes extremely good at what he does and offers the audience an entertaining plot.





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