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Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando

Cinema Paradiso
Cinema Paradiso screen for free on May 8 at MoPA (Miramax)

The San Diego Italian Film Festival only arrived on the scene last October but they have been busy bringing Italian cinema to San Diego -- and their screenings are all free! Can't beat that. This Thursday, May 8 at 7:00 pm at the Museum of Photographic Arts they will present the 1989 charmer, Cinema Paradiso . The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1990, and some say it revived Italy's film industry. The film is part of what festival organizers are calling a "warm up" for the main event in October. For more information, email SDItFF@gmail.com or go to www.sandiegoitalianfilmfestival.com .

When Cinema Paradiso was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, there was really was no way that Hollywood could have ignored Tornatore’s loving ode to the movies. For those who may have forgotten or those too young to remember, Cinema Paradiso tells the story of a young boy, Toto (Salvatore Cascio), whose infatuation with movies leads him to befriend Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), an aging projectionist at the local movie house. Toto watches in absolute awe as the magical flickering light beams out of a lion’s mouth that adorns the projection booth window at the Cinema Paradiso movie theater. He slips into the theater to watch as the local priest screens each film and franticly rings a little bell every time a film depicts something offensive or sexual. Even the most chaste kiss must be removed before the church can approve any public screening of the film. And it’s Alfredo’s job to remove the offensive frames.

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