Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Giuseppe Tornatore, Italy
What I find most surprising about Cinema Paradiso is how well the movie has aged. For a film that feeds on melodrama and tugs at the heartstrings in a fairly basic way, one would think that it should feel quite dated. And in many ways, it certainly feels like a product of its time, but that actually plays to the film's advantage. The nostalgia and reminiscing of simpler times fits perfectly into the transparent stylistic approach that Giuseppe Tornatore embrace so openly. There isn't a lot of flare or noise here, it's just a grown man looking back on a part of his life that he thought he had forgotten, but learns that memories never truly disappear. That's a sentiment I find myself relating to more and more as I grow older, and watching older films can encapsulate that feeling every so perfectly. Personally, I grew up in a time where multiplexes were already the norm, but I don't think that precludes one from appreciating the message at hand. The magic of cinema is something that everyone discovers in their own way. That sense of magic and wonder might not be at the forefront all the time, but it's always there, hidden behind all the noise. Movies like Cinema Paradiso that focus solely on how movies make us feel are a nice punctuation to anyone who cherishes the medium as an art form. I think it's the reason why La La Land connected with audiences so well (among other reasons), and it's the reason why 'movies about movies' will never grow old. Much like the medium itself.