They'd saved Hitler's brain and now they were atterthe Iilm listings! In a quiet Scottish suburb, Momingside Reichskommandant McTavish pressed valiant movie critic Capt ‘Johnno' Johnston tor details of the new film releases. ‘Ve hat vays of making you talk. Ve viII show you again ze Dad mit ze Jack Lemmon, hah! Zatvill soon loosen your stubborn Britishertongue!’ Faced with such unspeakable horror, Johnston had no choice but our
I ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN (U) The latest uttering from ex-Disney man Don Dluth, now based in his own studio in Dublin, is a canine adventure ieaturing vocal pertormances from the likes oi Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise. Opening in Scotland before the national release to wisely catch the schools' hall-term holidays. See review. Wide Odeon release and UCls Irom Fri 30 March. I ALWAYS (PG) The new Stephen Spielberg, chosen for this year's Royal Film Performance, has airborne tire-tighter Richard Dreyfuss falling in love with spunky Holly Hunter and coming back atter death to lind that she's tied up with vacuous hunk Brad Johnson. A new slant onthe Forties Spencer Tracy/Irene Dunne classic A Guy Named Joe that shows Stevie attempting to deal with lurve tor the first time. See review. Cannons Glasgow and Edinburgh. UCIs from Fri 30 March. I CINEMA PARADISO (PG) Giuseppe Tornatore‘s Cannes prize winner had them wringing out their hankies when it opened the Edinburgh Film Festival last year. Set in rural Italy. this story of a boyhood iniatuation with the cinema is a both a stirring love letter to the medium itself and a moving reﬂection on the loss of innocence through the passage oi time. We dety you not to be moved. See feature. Edinburgh Cameo from Fri 23 Nlarch. I COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL (PG) Ron Mann's thorough survey of the personalities and ideas thathave shaped the creative growth ot the comic book industry over the past tew decades is screened to coincide with the Glasgow Comic Art Convention. Glasgow Film Theatre Fri 30. Sat 31 March.
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Sicilian-born Giuseppe Tornatore recalls his movie-mad childhood in the emotional reminiscence Cinema Paradiso, reports Trevor Johnston.
Having caught Giuseppe Tornatore‘s Cinema Paradiso at a momentously tearful screening at Cannes last year. Palace Pictures boss Steve Woolley immediately snapped it up for UK distribution and has been unstinting in his praise ofit ever since. ‘The film' he wrote in a recent article for The Face magazine. ‘is the greatest movie ever made about how important cinemas are to the appreciation of movies. Paradiso is a celebration of how we project our lives like a fantasy and how important the texture of darkness is to the comfort that movies can give.’
It‘s no arid thesis however. as the audience at the Cameo cinema for the opening of the I989 Edinburgh Film Festival. who ended up passing around the Kleenex. will surelv testify. 'l‘ornatore's lament for‘the joyous cinema-going experience of his childhood is also a recognition of the price that we all pay for our maturity. and while it's as enjoyable a weepy wallow as anything old I lollywood turned out. on a deeper level it's a profoundly moving piece
Told largely in ﬂashback, the narrative traces young Salvatore‘s total infatuation with the village cinema, and his growing friendship with the projection box‘s grizzled old guardian Alfredo (Philippe Noiret). whose duties include snipping out any osculatory moments the local priest and self-appointed censor finds objectionable. The adolescent Salvatore is eventually to take over from old Alfredo as projectionist. and years later his mentor‘s death is what brings the by now successful film director back to his birthplace to face the family. the love affair and the old cinema he‘d left behind. But as the old blues adage says. you can‘t go home again. and in this final section the warmth of rediscovering roots is tempered by the realisation that time has washed away all roads back. Tornatore‘s tears area bittersweet cocktail ofjoy and sadness.
Given the depth of feeling that runs through it all. the film just had to be autobiographical. and so it is. ‘My interest in cinema started in the same way as Salvatore's.‘ explains writer/director Tornatore. a charming. bespectacled. 33-year-old Sicilian. ‘for years as a kid I every day to see movies. At the age of two my grandparents took me to see The Ten Commandments. but I peed in my granny‘s lap and they had to take me home. I still remember the first time I walked to the cinema on my own and bought a ticket to see Jason
an The Argonauts. I was five years old. In those days I loved absolutely every movie I saw, even the pulp B-movies. I learnt that bad movies are really important because they make you much more generous in appreciating the qualities ofthe good ones.
Before long, young Giuseppe graduated to playing around with a movie camera ‘making little documentaries for myself‘, before joining Italian television and graduating to feature films. He too made the journey back to film Cinema Paradiso in his home village in Sicily. casting the splendidly un-precocious Salvatore Cascio as the young protagonist from a group of several hundred local kids. His wide~eyed innocence is the real thing too. because none of the local children had ever been inside a cinema. 'In these small villages there are no cinemas any more.‘ Tornatore explains. ‘Television has helped that decline. but the distributors killed the small provincial movie houses when they realised it was cheaper just to keep the big movies running longer in the cities and have the rural audience come to the film. rather than the other way around.‘
Glasgow and Edinburgh. like everywhere else, now have many fewer cinemas than they once did. but it's appropriate that Cinema Paradiso will be playing two old-style auditoria. the GFT (formerly the Cosmo) and the beautifully rennovated Cameo. when it opens in central Scotland. As Ennio Morricone‘s sweeping score pours out of the screen . this is one movie that celebrates the melting hearts ofall those wonderful pe0ple sitting out there in the dark. Long may they continue to do so.
Cinema Paradiso (PC) is at the Edinburgh Cameo from Fri 23 March. and plays the Glasgow Film Theatre from Sun I to Tue 10 April.
16 The List 23 March — 5 April I990