Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “Cinema Paradiso” 1988.
I once had a friend tell me she did not like to read her movies. That was the reason why she did not watch foreign films. I understood her sentiment. However, if that was how I felt, I would have missed some of the great movie watching experiences of my life. “Jean de Floret/Manon of the Springs”, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy, “The Lives of Others”, the Russian director Grigori Kozintsev’s film of “Hamlet” and “Cinema Paradiso”.
But there was a time, no foreign films. I hated subtitles. I didn’t watch a lot of British films back in those olden days. I just couldn’t understand people with those accents and they didn’t supply subtitles. Not. ‘Course if you’ve seen “My Fair Lady”, you’re like me. Just what the heck does “garn” mean anyway. And why does it rain mainly on the plain in Spain. Doesn’t it ever rain in the mountains?
My dislike for subtitles ended in Japan where I served briefly in the United States Air Force. It was late one Saturday night in Shinjuku, a suburb of Tokyo. I had missed my train back to the base. I had some time to kill before the next train. So why not a movie? Steve McQueen’s “Bullit” was showing. I bought my ticket, took my seat, waited for the movie not knowing what to expect. Then the movie started. It was in English with Japanese subtitles. I did enjoy that movie. Afterword, I got to thinking ,if the Japanese could read subtitles, why not me. So I am a subtitle man now which has introduced me to a great many foreign films.
For years, I watched Siskel and Ebert religiously. That means about every time they came on tv. Theirs was film reviewing for the common man. I knew that if the two of them gave a movie two thumbs up, it was one I wanted to see. Again and again this dynamic duo hit a bulls eye with their reviews. After Gene Siskel died, Roger Ebert continued until his health would no longer let him do the show. He tried out a number of co-reviewers but none of them seem to work. The chemistry that Ebert had with Siskel wasn’t there. At least, not for me. The thing I loved about the two of them together was their respect for each other and their love for the movies.
Their recommendation was how I happened upon several of my favorite movies: “Jean de Florette”, “Manon of the Spring” and “Cinema Paradiso”. I’ve already brought “Jean de Florette” and “Manon of the Spring” to your attention. Today it’s “Cinema Paradiso”. When the duo did their two thumbs up on this one, I couldn’t wait for it to come to my town. When it did, I was not disappointed. It is a tribute to the impact movies have had on all our lives.
This is the story of a town in Sicily with a movie theater. It is the tale of a young boy without a father. The father had gone off to fight in the Italian army and never returned. The mother is left to fend for herself and her children. The movie is told through the boy’s eyes.
The town has only one movie theater. The boy strikes up a relationship with the theater’s projectionist. The boy is a Oliver Twist kind of character, longing for more. Only the more is not porridge. It is movies.
The movie could have focused on the hard life that the boy and his sister and his mother have. Instead it focuses on the joy that films have brought to the lives of the people of that village.
If you love movies, you will love this movie. It is one of my all-time favorites.