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Cinema Paradiso, Essay Example

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The film Cinema Paradiso (1988) is highly dependant on emotional and sensual resonance for its impact. Because the film deals with meta-fictional themes, the experience of the film as cinema and not merely as a narrative is crucial to its success. One of the key ironies that is present in the movie is when the projectionist, Alfredo, is blinded in a fire caused by nitrate film. The symbolic association of this event is that cinema, in being a powerful medium, is capable of blinding the viewer and making it impossible for them to return to actual life. In a sense, the sensuousness of the film is the foundation of its emotional impact. What the director, Giuseppe Tornatore, is trying to accomplish in the film is to combine the viewer’s experience of the sensual response to the visual and audio elements of the movie to the emotional arc of the narrative.

One of the key ways that this is accomplished is through the use of flashback. For example, when the film begins, the protagonist, a famous filmmaker named  Salvatore Di Vita is informed by his lover that his old friend Alfredo has passed away. He then begins a journey through memory which tells the story of how he became infatuated with film and how the influence of films changed his life. This is, as previously mentioned, a meta-fictional theme in that it attempts to weave art and life together so closely that the separation between the two becomes almost meaningless.

Because the main theme of the film is based on the idea that a movie, like life itself, creates a non-linear narrative that is largely known through the experience of senses and emotion, the film’s ability to displace time functions as a mirror of the role of human memory. For this reason alone, the movie must be regarded as an extremely successful example of sensual filmmaking. Additionally, the story which tells of the profound significance of imagination and human love is a powerful emotional experience. The movie is successful and exceptional powerful precisely because it is able to combine sensuality and sensual experience with emotional expression that is tied to a self-reflective capacity that makes a statement about the fusion of art and life.

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