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Cinema Paradiso review

As the new millennium approaches (yawn), list-craziness is hitting its peak. So, as if to remind us all that Cinema Paradiso deserves its high place among anyone's choices for Movies Of The Century, Metro Tartan has given cinema-goers the chance to rediscover Sicilian director Giuseppe Tornatore's much-lauded romantic drama.

And it makes sense to experience this generation-spanning tale of friendship and film-making on the big canvas, especially if you haven't done so already. It's a movie about movies for absolutely anyone who loves movies. The eponymous picture house forms the centre of life in a small rural town. It's the setting for scandal (when the priest loses the power to censor sex scenes); romance (the couple who meet and fall in love during screenings); comedy (the lads who drop a bug in a sleeping man's mouth); and even class conflict (the snob in the circle who gobs on the proles in the stalls).

But, most importantly, the Paradiso is the setting for the friendship between irascible projectionist Alfredo (Noiret) and mischievous boy Toto (Cascio), tracing their relationship through to Toto's late teens. Both Noiret and wildly expressive child actor Cascio hook your affections from the out-set, and it's their superbly engaging onscreen interaction which makes Tornatore's most personal film (shot in his home village) his most successful.

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