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Italian Film Studies – “Cinema Paradiso”

This film by director Tornatore would have to be my favourite movie viewed in our Italian film Studies class. This movie is filled with many images and themes which are all intertwined. My first point would have to be about the re-acquiring significance of the bell. The bell is used in the movie every time there is a character who is upset or angered. This can be seen in the “father” who views all the movies and whenever there is a scene in the movie that he disapproves of rings his little bell with a great amount of anger on his face. This can be seen even more with Toto. At the beginning of the film when he is told that Alfredo has died, he begins to hear bells and remember his earlier days with Alfredo. Another scene is when Alfredo drives to Elena’s house because Elena did not show up for their rendezvous. He arrives at her door and begins pounding on her door furiously and begging for her parents to open the door, all the while there is a bell ringing.

Finally, there is the scene where Toto has given up and is thinking of what to do with his life. He is sitting alone near the water and begins to start hearing bells ringing. In the very next scene, he is at the train station getting ready to leave his town and as Alfredo told him “never come back”. The Cinema Paradiso was operated by Alfredo. His trained eyes worked his station for many years. In the days that Alfredo worked, none of the movies contained any sexual images. Toto was always interested in those particular scenes. So when the cinema burnt down Alfredo’s sight was taken from him because the new cinema would allow the viewing of all types of sex scenes in the movies, mostly just kissing.

A very comical scene in the movie was when Toto was on the pier wishing that it was summertime so that he could see Elena. He also says that he wishes he were in a movie because if he was he would be with Elena and there would be a storm and then it would fade away into the next scene. Because he is in a movie the same thing happens. A storm begins and Elena pops out of nowhere and they begin to kiss in the rain. Another reoccurring image in the movie was the anchor. When Toto is reading a letter from Elena on the pier he Is upset that he cannot see her because both of them have responsibilities that they have to tend to and are tied down. While this is happening in the camera shot there is a lone anchor leaned against a post.

The anchor is Toto because he is tied down and cannot really do what he wants to. The second time this happens would have to be my favourite scene from the movie just because of the scenery. Toto is walking with Alfredo along the beach and he is upset with his life and how nothing is working out for him. Alfredo gives him advice by telling him to leave, and that there is nothing for him in this town. All along the beach that they are walking on are many anchors laying on the sand all alone. Many anchors are intertwined with one another. I really liked this scene because all the lone anchors symbolized the responsibilities that he has and all the jumbled ones showed all the things he was confused about and wasn’t able to let go of.

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Italian Film Studies - "Cinema Paradiso". (2021, Aug 24). Retrieved August 30, 2021, from