The defender returns to ‘Cinema Paradiso’: Giuseppe Tornatore’s film becomes a series

The two protagonists in another frame from the film.

It is said that cinema is an art, an image, an author’s vision. But sometimes they also tell more earthly details. For example the duration. In 1988, Giuseppe Tornatore released a film of almost three hours which represents an enunciation of coitus in the seventh art, recounting occultism and the lock of an old bedroom in a Sicilian village. However, the occult didn’t work: his perennial images received cold reviews and acquaintance endorsements, causing them to quickly disappear from the billboard. However, a distributor told the filmmaker: “If it lasted two hours, I would earn millions”, recalls the newspaper La Repubblica. The director was stung. But he cut it short and replied, “Well, I want millions.” Today, Cinema Paradiso is much more: a cult film. So much so that Tornatore can now afford to drag it out even longer than he originally thought: the film will be a six-part series written and directed by himself, slated for release in 2023. .

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“It will be the same story as the film but in an expanded interpretation with several different narrative threads,” producer Situación Belardi told Variety magazine, which advanced the rating. Tornatore returns to the lie of little Totò who, after his friendship with the projectionist Alfredo, falls in love with cinema and becomes a director as an adult. “The strength of a womb, the solidarity of a friend, sex as taboo, forced transfers, escapes and marked social differences” will be some of the themes that the series will delve into, according to Belardi, who was also at the origin of the blockbuster Perfect. Foreigners, among other projects. . The producer and filmmaker is currently in the United States negotiating with a streaming platform. And Tornatore, who drew inspiration for the film from personal experience, is already writing the banner and pilot, according to Variety.

Let’s go back to the fictional town of Giancaldo. Although honestly, many viewers never left. The projection directly onto a presence in the square, Totò waiting in the storm, the priest’s cuts to all the kisses on the screen, Alfredo’s advice to his beardless friend at the moment of the farewell (“Whatever you do, love it as you loved the Paradiso hut when you were little”), the sound side of Ennio Morricone or the final sequence will forever be remembered by those who have seen and loved the film.

So much so that fans still visit the Palazzo Adriano, the very site where much of the feature film was shot, and any theater that survives advances in digital technology and heavenly shopping malls based on honeymoon and celluloid. When it was finally possible to regain seats after confinement, many Spanish cinemas experienced the best way to reconnect with their spectators: release the Tornatore film. His career also bears witness to his importance: he won the Prix du corps particulire at the Cannes Film Festival in 1989 and the Oscar for best film in foreign Germany the following year.

The two protagonists in another frame from the film.

At the same time, there was a front that remained critical regardless of the length of the film: according to him, even at two hours, it was still an astonishing, heartbreaking film that chased away simple sensations. Now, skeptics will be in disbelief: Not only is Cinema Paradiso returning and in six episodes, Belardi is also planning to produce a documentary about the making and creative process of the brand new film to bolster its validity and help promote the series. . More commonly, the doubts have to do with the increasingly frequent return in the audiovisual sector of what has succeeded in the past, to of course regain its art but also its prescription for success. Alfredo himself, just before whispering to Totò the phrase that everyone remembers, gave him another recommendation: “Never come back. […] Don’t look ahead. […] Don’t let nostalgia fool you.”

The truth is that over 30 springs have passed and a lot has changed. To slip in more detail, the plan itself is a good example: one of the most famous odes to cinema is being adapted into a series in 2022, which should arrive on the screens of the house. And broadcast via a streaming platform, the business model that some accuse of torpedoing the future of these establishments.

Time has also marked two of the film’s protagonists: Philippe Noiret, who played Alfredo, who died in 2006, and Jacques Perrin, who played Totò as an adult, who died just a few months ago. And Salvatore Totò Cascio, who at the age of eight became the most renowned boy in world cinema, soon realized that his life had nothing to do with the fairy tale in which he had starred: instead of a promising career, an illness awaited him, after all doomed to almost total blindness. He himself preferred to hide from the spotlight for decades until he recently felt alive to tell Il Corriere della Sera about his drama and his journey around revival.

Filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore pictured in Madrid in 2013. Filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore pictured in Madrid in 2013. cristobal manuel

Tornatore itself never made it back to the top of Cinema Paradiso. He returned to success and praise, at least in his country, with The Unknown Woman or The Badge of the Pianist in the Ocean. He got new international acclaim with “The Best Offer” or his most recent documentary on Ennio Morricone, his friend and composer of the soundtracks of almost all his feature films. He even had to accept the disappointing results of Pura formalidad or Malena. “I made each film believing that it would be the one that would define my life”, assured the filmmaker EL PAÍS in 2013. Without confiscation, his name will remain forever attached to his most famous work.

Getting it back is an opportunity. Although Tornatore will also be aware of the risks. After all, he himself wrote the newest banner: his warnings are Alfreds. But also the audacity of Totò: of course a return to the site that made it effective.

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