Monday, November 27, 2006

Farewell, Philippe

Philippe is--was--Philippe Noiret, the rumpled, crusty French actor who died of cancer last November 24 in Paris, at 76 years old.

Mr. Noiret became one of my favorite film actors after I saw his performance as the illiterate movie projectionist in Giuseppe Tornatore's "Cinema Paradiso." (That's him in the photo, with Salvatore Cascio as the young boy Toto, who'd grow up to be the gorgeous Marco Leonardi in the film.) I caught the movie on TV in 1992, shown as part of a Holy Week special--no idea why--and fell in love with it unreservedly. Now, ask me a rundown of the movies I am most fond of and this 1989 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film tops my list.

There are other more sophisticated, more important, more original, more ground-breaking movies around, but "Cinema Paradiso" will always be a personal favorite. I have, in fact, DVDs of two other films starring Mr. Noiret--"Il Postino" by Michael Radford, and "Life and Nothing But" by Bertrand Tavernier--but I have three copies of "Cinema Paradiso:" a VHS copy that I bought from Ricky Lee's old movie shop in Greenhills many years ago, a DVD of the standard version released internationally, and the recent "director's cut" with about 45 minutes of additional footage. I've nagged everyone around me to see this film. I think anyone who professes to love movies should not miss it--because it is, above all, a valentine to movies.

Now it's Fine for Mr. Noiret, who gave "Cinema Paradiso" its heart, soul and sinew. I shall grieve by watching my DVDs again.


Here's composer Ennio Morricone conducting a live performance of the now-classic theme from "Cinema Paradiso," accompanied by images from the movie:

"Cinema Paradiso's" twist of an ending is one of the most beloved in cinema. If you've not seen the film, stop here and go no further: spoiler alert for you. But if you're familiar with this famous last scene, let's savor it again:

Any fellow "Cinema Paradiso" junkies out there? Holler!

[photo: Luca Diamonte/Associated Press]


Senor Enrique said...

Bellisimo! Ennio Morricone is one of my favorite contemporary composers!

Saw this film a couple of times and loved it. Quite endearing.

Toto said...

Hey Gibbs.
My film blog was inspired by this film. I saw it for the first time in Fr. Nick Cruz's film class in Ateneo. We were in his office talking about films one lazy Saturday afternoon and he invited me to sit in his film class. I'm glad I did. It's been on my list of favorites since then.

MANDAYA MOORE: Ang bayot sa bukid said...

love the film. saw it thrice, cried every time

gibbs cadiz said...

hi SENOR ENRIQUE, yes, ennio morricone is a god. love his 'the mission' soundtrack to bits. :)

ey TOTO, i know, i actually first thought of your site and your toto avatar when i heard of mr. noiret's death... amazing, but i know fr. nick cruz as well! once upon a time i used to burn copies of my dvd collection for friends, and some of them told fr. nick about this guy who might have some of the titles he'd been looking for for ages. i got a call from him, i visited him in his modest ateneo office, and that's how he ended up with copies of 'babette's feast' and 'la reine margot' (if i recall correctly), among others. it was great to meet fr. nick because, as a boy growing up in the province, i used to read his movie reviews! :)

ey MANDAYA, makes me tear up everytime, too. :)

benj said...

I remember this being shown on channel 2, but I was barely 7 or 8 back then. I remember the title vividly though. I think they showed this with Nunzio.

Toto said...

Hey Gibbs.
My VHS copy of Babette's Feast was also copied from Fr. Nick's collection. I also saw Babette's Feast for the first time in his film class. I have many other stories about him. ( I would have wanted to write them here but it would take so much space. Well, maybe in my blog.)

Ernesto said...

I love this movie. I have the VHS copy but I'm planning on buying the extended DVD. Because of this movie I took a class in Italian cinema when I was in college and eventually, last year, I was inspired to go backpacking in Italy. I was sad when I found out that he died. I ended up watching the movie again.

Anonymous said...

i fell in love with the movie... very nice... i watched it back in my college days in ateneo... i ended up crying... then i watched it again and again borrowing a copy from the library...

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