Blu-ray Review – Cinema Paradiso

Cinema Paradiso

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore 

Screenplay: Giuseppe Tornatore

Minutes: 124

Year: 1988

Score: 7.73

Release: Arrow Academy

On advice from counsel I am only watching the Theatrical cut. I don’t know anyone who suggests watching the Directors Cut which seems strange to me. Based on what I have read they are all correct. The Theatrical cut is perfect.


A winner of awards across the world including Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, five BAFTA Awards including Best Actor, Original Screenplay and Score, the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and many more.

Giuseppe Tornatore’s loving homage to the cinema tells the story of Salvatore, a successful film director, returning home for the funeral of Alfredo, his old friend who was the projectionist at the local cinema throughout his childhood. Soon memories of his first love affair with the beautiful Elena and all the high and lows that shaped his life come flooding back, as Salvatore reconnects with the community he left 30 years earlier.

Presented in both the original award-winning cut and the expanded Director’s Cut incorporating more of Salvatore’s backstory, newly restored from original negative materials.

Cinema Paradiso is one of those film which has been on my list for years but not high enough to actively seek it out, until now. That is something I regret. The film is absolute magic; not perfect, but magic.

This film leaves me wishing I had added a specific lighting category to my scoring model to give the film a little boost because even in the few weak moments it is lit masterfully.

The film is unrepentantly Italian and I have no doubt that Tornatore is a fan of Federico Fellini’s Amarcord and I enjoy the former more than the later. The film is a love letter to cinema and Toto is an analog for film geeks who love film regardless of the genre or quality; it is the metaphorical transportation of the viewer which elevates the film to a higher plain that more other art.

Like the Arrow Academy released I have reviewed before (and, frankly, the horror flicks) the release is stacked with several documentaries, a commentary, and different, longer, and I’ve heard lesser, version of the film. If you have not watched the film I HIGHLY recommend you watch it soon, and watch it before you read the special feature list below. (Actually I am going to redact it a little) It should be noted that the restoration is nearly perfect. This is, without a doubt, a nominee for release of the year.

Special Features

  • Restored from the original camera negative and presented in two versions – the 124 minute Cannes Festival theatrical version and the 174 minute Director’s Cut
  • Uncompressed original stereo 2.0 Audio and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio options
    Optional English subtitles
  • Audio commentary with director Giuseppe Tornatore and Italian cinema expert critic Millicent Marcus
  • A Dream of Sicily– A 52-minute documentary profile of Giuseppe Tornatore featuring interviews with director and extracts from his early home movies as well as interviews with director Francesco Rosi and painter Peppino Ducato, set to music by the legendary Ennio Morricone
  • A Bear and a Mouse in Paradise– A 27-minute documentary on the genesis of Cinema Paradiso, the characters of Toto and Alfredo, featuring interviews with the actors who play them, Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio as well as Tornatore
  • The REDACTED Sequence– Giuseppe Tornatore discusses the origins of the REDACTED scenes with full clips identifying each scene
  • Original Director’s Cut Theatrical Trailer and 25th Anniversary Re-Release Trailer
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet by Pasquale Iannone illustrated with archive stills, behind-the-scenes images and posters

Director: 8 – Cinematography: 10 –  Edit: 9 – Parity: 2 – Main performance: 10 – Else performance: 6 – Score: 10 – Sound: 5 – Story: 7 – Script: 8 – Effects: 6 – Design: 10 – Costumes: 5 – Keeps interest: 10 – Lasting: 10