CINEMA PARADISO: DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- In this film you see Salvatore at three stages in his life: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Explain how the meaning of the film depends upon this structure of three stages of one person's life.
- In what way is this film about the joys and pain of mentoring?
- How is this film about changing societal and cultural values and the impact of those values on the individual and the community?
- Why is it significant that this is a film about the love of movies (or the cinema)? How does that point relate to everything that happens to Salvatore in the film?
- What is the basis of the relationship between the cinema and the community of Giancaldo? How does the fire that destroys the cinema change that relationship? What is lost? What is gained?
- What role is played by the old man who sleeps on the square and is constantly running around pushing at people and declaring, "The square is mine!"? The square is mine!" How is he like some of the other characters in the film? At the same time, how is he distinctive from the others?
- In what ways is the scene showing everyone crying at the melodrama playing in the cinema an overall example of the role of community in this film?
- Remember the scene where Alfredo is able to show the film both to members of the cinema audience as well as people gathered outside. In what ways is that scene his greatest triumph has well as a tragedy?
- Characterize the love story between Salvatore and Elena? Why does their love story have to end the way it ends?
- Explain why Salvatore has to leave the town of Giancaldo. Explain why he had to come back when he learned of Alfredo's death. What situation does he find himself in when he does make his return?
- How did you respond to the last scene in the film, the one that showed Salvatore sitting in a screening room in his studio and watching the clips of characters kissing—a present from Alfredo? Why was this scene a perfect way to end the film?
Film resource written by Robert Yahnke
Copyright, Robert E. Yahnke, © 2009
Professor, Univ. of Minnesota
Request permission from the author to reprint this resource--for educational use only