Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (1988)

(In French, On TV, August 2017) Cinema often congratulates itself, and Nuovo Cinema Paradiso is an endearing example of the form, as a grown man attending a funeral is reminded of his early experiences at the local cinema and its memorable owner. There isn’t much to the film, but it’s well made and affectionate in this idyllic small-town portrait that is often so popular in nostalgia-fuelled fiction. Much of the expected elements are there—the surrogate father-figure to compensate for a single-mom family; the hated unreasonable clerical authority figure cutting out all the kissing scenes from movies shown at the theatre; the girl; and a hero with big dreams. It helps a lot that Philippe Noiret is very good as the cinema owner who gets to parent our hero. Otherwise, Nuovo Cinema Paradiso is handled with grace and style, just enough to wrap the film in fuzzy feel-good feelings. Not revolutionary, but handled well enough to be pleasant viewing … especially for confirmed cinephiles.

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