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What's Different about the New Version
on March 9, 2004
Cinema Paradiso is one of my favorite movies. I finally found the new version available for rent through Netflix when I couldn't find it in any Blockbuster.
For those who have already seen Cinema Paradiso it needs no introduction. For everybody else, it won the Academy Award for Foreign Language Film in 1989 and features one of the most nostalgic treatments of the role of movies in people's lives. Ennio Morricone's theme song has also been recycled in countless commercials and movie montages and trailers.
What's good about the Director's Cut or "New Version" DVD is that one can view the director's cut with added scenes on one DVD side and the originally released version on the other.
For those of us who wanted some kind of closure to Toto and Elena's relationship, the Director's Cut has it-- there's about an hour more of footage of their relationship. The new version also more footage of Toto's military service and his adulthood. The added scenes somewhat mute the focus of the movie, so I could see why they were originally cut out. But, at the same time, the added scenes fill in the blanks that originally made a lot of us think, "Hey-- What about...?" And although Toto's childhood scenes are, as far as I can tell, unchanged from the original version, we also find out more about Alfredo.
After finishing the New Version I appreciated the original version better. I highly recommend the new version not because it makes Cinema Paradiso more of a masterpiece, but because it adds more characterization to what, arguably, is a masterpiece. The added scenes can be a bit superfluous, but they show how important editorial decisions are to shaping the structure and momentum of a movie.