Director: Giuseppe Tornatore.
Stars: Philippe Noiret, Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi, Jacques Perrin, Antonella Attili, Enzo Cannavale
Every director dreams of making that one great film that also serves as a love letter to the art of cinema. For Giuseppe Tornatore, Cinema Paradiso is it. Though commencing in the 1980s, the bulk of the movie is told as a flashback as a filmmaker named Toto recalls how he fell in love with the movies as a child at the Cinema Paradiso and the friendship he forged with the theater’s projectionist, Alfredo. Which makes it even more appropriate that it would take a movie about moviemaking to truly appreciate the art of the film editor.
The film bombed at the box office in its original Italian format, which clocked in at 155 minutes; editors cut 31 minutes out of the film for its international release, where it was an instant hit. It was this shorter version of the film that earned it a Special Jury Prize at Cannes as well as an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1990. The film’s beloved stature led Harvey Weinstein to release a third version of the film in 2002, this one the official Director’s Cut weighing in at 174 minutes, which encouraged fans of the original U.S. release to “Discover what really happened to the love of a lifetime.”
Turns out, they didn’t really care. Though not outright panned, the across-the-board response was that the second, Miramax-ed version of the film was its best. And, indeed, that's the one you want to seek out.