Cinema Paradiso

4K ULTRA HD REVIEW:

MVD/Arrow;
Drama;
$49.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R.’
Stars Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili, Marco Leonardi, Salvatore Cascio, Jacques Perrin, Agnese Nano.

With movie theaters facing an existential threat, there is perhaps no better time to revisit this 1989 Best Foreign Film Oscar winner about the magic of cinema, available in 4K for the first time.

Through extended flashbacks, the Italian film traces one man’s love affair with the movies beginning as a boy in war torn Sicily in the pre-television era. The boy Toto is fascinated by his small town’s movie theater and the projectionist, Alfredo, who creates magic on the screen from his small booth above the balcony. The booth also houses treasure, stolen kiss clips from various films that the local priest has had the projectionist excise from reels shown in the theater. Through his special relationship with the projectionist and the theater, the fatherless boy grows to cherish the magic of cinematic storytelling. Revisiting the town as an accomplished filmmaker, he reminisces about love, movies and loss.

Director Giuseppe Tornatore’s loving homage to the cinema also earned five BAFTA Awards, the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and many more plaudits.

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The original award-winning theatrical version of Tornatore’s classic is presented here for the first time on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with DolbyVision. Special features include audio commentary with Tornatore and Italian cinema expert critic Millicent Marcus; “A Dream of Sicily,” a 52-minute documentary profile of Tornatore featuring interviews with the director and extracts from his early home movies and interviews with director Francesco Rosi and painter Peppino Ducato, set to music by Ennio Morricone; “A Bear and a Mouse in Paradise,” a 27-minute documentary on the making of Cinema Paradiso and the characters of Toto and Alfredo, featuring interviews with the actors who play them, Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio, as well as Tornatore; “The Kissing Sequence,” in which Tornatore discusses the origins of the kissing scenes with clips identifying each scene; and the original director’s cut theatrical trailer and 25th anniversary re-release trailer. This 4K combo pack also includes the expanded director’s cut on Blu-ray, which delves deeper into Salvatore’s backstory.

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While the extras provide interesting backstory information, especially about the climactic and affecting “Kissing Sequence,” the real star here is the film itself polished for 4K. I saw the film when it first came out, and it has lost none of its power. As we move into the digital age, and physical media and theatergoing are increasingly labeled passé, Cinema Paradiso is a loving look back at moviegoing in a time when moving pictures were projected on a film strip of successive photos, capturing moments of magic.

‘Essential Fellini’ Blu-ray Set Arrives Nov. 24 from Criterion

The Criterion Collection Nov. 24 will release Essential Fellini, a 15-disc Blu-ray collection of 14 works from celebrated Italian director Federico Fellini (1920-1993) 100 years after his birth.

The set will include the films Variety Lights (1950), The White Sheik (1952), I Vitelloni (1953), La Strada (1954), Il Bidone (1955), Nights of Cabiria (1957), La Dolce Vita (1960), (1963), Juliet of the Spirits (1965), Fellini Satyricon (1969), Roma (1972), Amarcord (1973), And the Ship Sails On (1983) and Intervista (1987), plus a new digital restoration of the short film Toby Dammit (1968).

The set includes new 4K restorations of 11 of the theatrical features, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks for all films.

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Extras include:

  • The newly restored television film Fellini: A Director’s Notebook (1969), and the feature documentaries Fellini: I’m a Born Liar (2002) and Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember (1997), the latter presented in its 193-minute version;
  • A two-hour, four-part 1960 interview with Fellini by filmmaker André Delvaux for Belgian television;
  • Four behind-the-scenes documentaries: “Reporter’s Diary: Zoom on Fellini” (1965), “Ciao, Federico!” (1969), “The Secret Diary of Amarcord” (1974), and “Fellini racconta: On the Set of And the Ship Sails On” (1983);
  • Fellini racconta: Passegiatte nella memoria, a 2000 documentary featuring interviews with a late-in-life Fellini;
  • Giulietta Masina: The Power of a Smile, a 2004 documentary about Fellini’s wife and frequent collaborator;
  • “Once Upon a Time: La dolce vita,” a French television documentary about the film;
  • Audio commentaries on six of the films;
  • A program from 2003 on Fellini’s 1980s television advertising work;
  • Archival interviews with Fellini stars and collaborators, including Marcello Mastroianni, Sandra Milo, Anouk Aimée, and Magali Noël;
  • Archival audio interviews by film critic Gideon Bachmann with Fellini, Mastroianni, and Fellini’s friends and family;
  • Video essays;
  • Trailers.

 

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Listed for $249.95, the set will come in deluxe packaging that includes two lavishly illustrated books with hundreds of pages of content: notes on the films by scholar David Forgacs; essays by filmmakers Michael Almereyda, Kogonada, and Carol Morley, film critics Bilge Ebiri and Stephanie Zacharek, and novelist Colm Tóibín; and dozens of images spotlighting Don Young’s renowned collection of Fellini memorabilia.