Giuseppe Tornatore


        Shooting Script				

	The October sun slashes through the gray clouds, cuts across the
	shadow towards the sea, along the coast where the new suburbs of the
	city of Giancaldo have been built up.
	Bright light streams through the windows, glancing off the white
	walls in an almost blinding reflection. MARIA, a woman a little over
	sixty, is trying to find somebody on the phone.
		...Salvatore, that's right, 
		Salvatore. Di Vita Salvatore
		...But, miss, what do you mean you 
		don't know him?!...I...Yes...
			(She gives a nervous sigh. 
			She has dialed her way 
			through endless numbers 
			but still hasn't managed 
			to speak to Mr. Di
			Vita. She finally heaves a 
			sigh of relief.)
		...That's right, good for you! 
		Oh!...yes...And I'm his
		mother. I'm calling from Sicily. Been 
		trying all day...Ah, he's not 
		there...But would you be so kind as 
		to give me...?...Yes...
			(She nods at another woman 
			around forty sitting 
			nearby: it is LIA, her 
			daughter, who jots down 
			the numbers her 
			mother dictates:)
		...Six, five, six, two, two, oh, 
		six...Thanks ever so
		much...Goodbye. Goodbye.
	She hangs up, takes the number LIA has jotted down, determined to have still 
	another try. LIA speaks to her as if she were a baby, to be more convincing.
		Look, Ma...It's useless calling him. 
		He'll be terribly busy, God knows 
		where he is. Besides he might not 
		even remember. Do as I say, forget 
		it...He hasn't been here for thirty 
		years. You know how he is. 
	MARIA pauses to think it over. The decision she has to make is important. Then, 
		He'll remember! He'll remember! 
			(She puts on her glasses 
			and starts dialing 
			the number.)
		...I'm positive. I know him better 
		than you do. If he were to find 
		out we hadn't told him, he'd be 
		angry. I know. 
			(She takes off her 
		...Hello? Good morning. Could I 
		please speak to Mr. Salvatore Di 
		Vita. I'm his mother...
	It's late, but there is still traffic on the streets heading downtown.
	Inside a high-powered car, a man  around fifty is driving. It is
	SALVATORE Dl VITA. Elegant, just growing gray, a handsome face
	creased by deep wrinkles. His weary expression hides the determined,
	sell-assured manner of the successful self-made man. He must be a
	heavy smoker judging by the way he draws the last puffs on his
	He stops at a red light. He stubs out the cigarette and rolls down the
	window, as a little Fiat Uno pulls up alongside. A rock tune plays full
	blast on the radio. SALVATORE turns instinctively to have a look at the
	man at the wheel  a BOY with a brush cut standing straight in the latest
	fashion. He studies the Boy's expression with almost exaggerated
	attention, but devoid of curiosity, coldly. The GIRL sitting beside him,
	lots of curly hair, overripe red lips, returns SALVATORE'5 look,
	provocatively. The BOY notices, turns to SALVATORE in a surly voice:
		Hey! What the fuck you looking at!?
	Green light. The Fiat Uno shoots off, leaving a trail of music in its wake.
	The apartment is luxurious, tastefully furnished. There is no one waiting for 
	SALVATORE. Through the picture window on the terrace, the city can be seen 
	slumbering in the night. SALVATORE gets undressed on his way to the bedroom. He 
	moves quietly, as if to make no noise. He doesn't even turn on the light, 
	finishes getting undressed in the pale blue glow coming from the picture window. 
	A rustling sound, a movement on the bed, the voice of a woman waking up. 
		Salvatore...But what time is it? 
	She turns on the bedside light. It is CLARA, a young woman around thirty. 
	SALVATORE climbs in beside her under the covers, kisses her sweetly, then in a 
		It's late, Clara. Sorry, but I wasn't 
		able to let you know I wouldn't be 
			(He fondles her, but he is 
			tired, feels like 
		Go to sleep now. Sleep.
	He turns over on the other side. CLARA shuts her eyes, is about to drop off, 
	but whispers.
		Your mother phoned. She took me for 
		somebody else...
		And what'd you tell her?
		I played dumb, so as not to 
		disappoint her. We had a nice little 
		talk. She says you never go see her, 
		and when she wants to see you she has 
		to come to Rome...Is it true?
	SALVATORE doesn't answer. God only knows how often he's heard that question 
		She phoned just to say that? 
	She reaches out to switch of the light, buries her head into the pillow.
		She said a certain Alfredo had died. 
		And the funeral's taking place 
		tomorrow afternoon...
			(A strange look suddenly 
			comes into SALVATORE'S 
			eyes. The idea of going to 
			sleep has clearly left 
			him. It's a piece of news 
			he didn't expect. That's 
			taken him off-guard. CLARA 
			would like to carry on the 
			conversation, but 
			sleepiness makes 
			it almost impossible. An 
			she can manage is one last 
			question in a faint little 
		Who is it? A relative of yours?
		No. Sleep. Go to sleep.
	She falls asleep in the dead silence of the night. SALVATORE is seized by a 
	sort of chill a deep, troubled feeling. He gazes through the window al the city, 
	with its shimmering lights still moving in the darkness, suddenly shrouded in a 
	heavy curtain of rain. But he gazes off, beyond the row of houses, beyond the 
	dark sky; the shadow of a wind chime plays across his face summoning up endless 
	memories, drawing forth from the infinite depths of oblivion a past that he 
	thought had vanished, been wiped out, and instead now re-emerges, comes back to 
	life, takes on light, superimposing itself on the mellow middle-aged features of 
	his face, in the shadow of the city shaken by the storm, until another image is 
	formed, an ancient, remote image...
	An image from over forty years before. In the baroque church of
	Giancaldo. SALVATORE is nine years old. Dressed as an altar boy, he
	is kneeling by the altar with a little silver bell in his hands. The
	congregation is also kneeling. The PRIEST is consecrating the Host.
	Little SALVATORE has just got out of bed, is still half-asleep, yawns
	and doesn't notice that the PRIEST is standing there with the Host in
	the air glaring at him, as if trying to tell him something.
		Pss! Pssst!
	SALVATORE finishes yawning and opening his eyes meets the
	withering look of the PRIEST. He gets the message at once and
	rings the bell. Now the PRIEST can carry on, lifts the chalice and
	the bell is heard again.
						Cut to:
	The service is over. The PRIEST is in the sacristy removing his
	vestments. And SALVATORE is also there, removing his altar-boy
		But how can I make you understand? 
		Without the bell I just can't go on! 
		Always half asleep, you are! What do 
		you do at night anyway? Eat instead 
		of sleep?
		Father, at my house we don't even eat 
		at noon. That's why I'm always 
		sleepy. That's what the vet says.
	The PRIEST has finished disrobing. He takes the bell
	SALVATORE was holding during the service and turns to leave.
		All right, Toto, get moving, I've got 
		things to do. Say hello to your 
		Can I...
			(Interrupting him) 
		And don't ask if you can come...
		Because you can't!! Shoo, shoo, off 
		with you!!
	SALVATORE gives a shrug and leaves. The PRIEST goes down a
	corridor, opens a door, another corridor, and finally a door
	leading to an outside courtyard. He cuts across it and disappears
	into another door.
	The PRIEST enters a movie house. Not very big  200 seats on the main
	floor and another seventy in the balcony. Along the walls, posters of
	films to be shown are stuck up between the light fixtures. In one corner,
	a statue of the Virgin Mary with flowers. The CLEANING LADY has
	finished work and is leaving. Up in the balcony, over the last row of
	seats, are the holes of the projection booth. The middle hole is
	camouflaged by the huge head of a roaring lion, all in plaster, and the
	lens of the projector can be glimpsed between its sharp teeth.
	there are two smaller holes, through which the figure of a man can be
	made out, appearing and disappearing...It is ALFREDO, the
	projectionist. He is around forty, skinny and bony with a tough
	peasant face. He has finished loading the projector and is checking the
	carbons in the arc lamp. Then he removes the glass from one of the
	holes and looks down into the theatre, at the PRIEST who waves his
		OK, Alfredo, you can start!!
	He sits down an by himself in the middle of the empty theatre.
	Up in the booth, ALFREDO lights the arc lamp and sets the
	projector going.
	Down in the theatre, the light goes off and out of the lion's mouth
	streams the glowing ray aimed al the screen. String music, sweet
	and ominous, spreads through the theatre. On the screen appear
	the credit titles of an American film of the 1940s. The PRIEST
	screws up his face and holds the bell in his right hand resting on
	the arm of his seat.
	At the back of the theatre, behind the last row, a curtain moves,
	opens a crack and SALVATORE'S gaunt little face appears. He
	has managed to sneak in somehow and stands there without a
	word, spellbound, watching the 'movie' on the glowing screen.
	The credit titles have long come and gone. The story is at a
	Up above, in the hole of the booth next to the lion,
	ALFREDO watches the film, but his eyes keep looking down at the
	PRIEST, who is now drumming the bell with his fingers. On the
	screen, the male and female lead, two Hollywood stars, are in
	close-up; the dialogue is passionate, romantic. SALVATORE,
	carried away by those faces, by the way they talk, by the beauty
	of the woman, slowly slips down the length of the curtain until he
	is sitting on the floor, his eyes glued to the screen. 
	The love scene reaches a climax, the music crescendos, and the love-struck 
	couple finally fall into each other's arms and kiss. Instinctively, the PRIEST 
	raises the bell into the air, as in some age-old ceremony, and gives it a loud 
	Up in the booth ALFREDO hears the bell; it's the signal he's been
	waiting for. He takes a slip of paper from a pad prepared for that
	purpose and sticks it into the loops of the film containing that
	specific scene as it winds on to the reel. The projection
	...And also the kiss of the two actors. The PRIEST'S nervous look lingers on 
	those black-and-white lips meeting and now pulling apart for one last 
	declaration of love before separating. SALVATORE is wide-eyed, he's probably 
	never seen a man and woman kiss before, it's a vision that for him has all the 
	attraction of forbidden fruit, the horror of sin. The screen is now filled with 
	the figure of a woman getting undressed, showing for one instant the white, 
	voluptuous flesh of her broad, naked shoulders. SALVATORE stares in open-mouthed 
	wonder. The PRIEST, in a fury, grabs the bell and shakes it for all he is worth. 
	From the sound of the bell to another sound...
	The tolling of the bell-tower rings out over the 
	square. It is noon. The vast square, pale and dusty, is alive with people. A 
	noisy line of men, women and cows waits in front of the fountain to get water. 
	Peddlers hawk their wares in mournful cries. People come and go in front of the 
	town hall. The working men's club is deserted. The entrance of the Cinema 
	Paradiso is shut. Hanging outside is the poster of the film that has just been 
	seen on screen. Up above, the windows of the projection booth are open. The hum 
	of the projector can be heard and the loud, lofty music typical of 'THE END'. 
	Then dead silence. The showing is over.
	Despite the speed, numerous white streaks spin around on the reel,
	created by the slips of paper ALFREDO has inserted into the loops. He
	is rewinding the film by hand on the film-winder. When he's not
	talking, ALFREDO usually sings to himself. SALVATORE stands beside
	him, taking in everything he does with those quick, thieving eyes of his
			(Harshly, shouting) 
		You must not come here! How many 
		times do I have to tell you?
			(And he slows down the 
			reels with his hand. The 
			slips of paper
			are about to arrive. 
			Here's the first.)
		If the film catches fire, runt that 
		you are, you'd go up in a
		burst of flame...whoosh! And turn 
		into a piece of...
			(Overlapping him)
		...and turn into a piece of 
	He's used to his terrorisms, pays no more attention. Not even his
	grim look scares him. Anyway, ALFREDO catches the joke, starts to give him a 
	slap, but instead reaches over and picks up a pair of scissors.
		Christ, that's a sassy little tongue 
		you've got! Watch out, or someday 
		I'll snip it off. 
	And he snips a piece of film, pastes the ends together and goes on turning the 
	handle. SALVATORE picks up the strip of film and gives it a closer look. He sees 
	a series of frames all alike with a man kissing a woman.
		Can I have it? 
	ALFREDO snatches it out of his hand, furiously, at the end of his string. He 
		No!!! Are you deaf or something? I've 
		got to put this back in when we wind 
		up the film again! You're a real pain 
		in the neck! 
	SALVATORE reaches into a basket full of strips of film. He takes out a handful: 
	all kisses that have been cut.
		Then why didn't you put these back 
		when you wound up the films again? 
	ALFREDO is caught out. He stops the film where another slip of paper is stuck 
	in and cuts the scene:
		'Cause sometimes you can't find the 
		right place any more and so...well, 
		actually...they stay here. 
			(Finding an excuse) 
		Besides, there are more kisses than 
		you can count.
		So I can have these? 
			(ALFREDO explodes, flies 
			off the handle. He grabs 
			SALVATORE by the shoulders 
			and shakes him.)
		Look, Toto! Before I kick your ass 
		all the way to China and back, let's 
		make a deal. These strips here are 
		yours, I give them to you. However! 
		One  you're not to stick your nose in 
		here any more. Two  I'll keep them 
		for you, because you can't take them 
		home for God forbid and save our 
		souls, if they catch fire, all hell 
		will break loose! OK? Oh!!! And now 
	He takes him and turns him towards the stairs. For him the matter is closed. He 
	returns to the film-winder. SALVATORE sneaks back and while ALFREDO's attention 
	is elsewhere, snatches up a handful of movie frames scattered on the counter, 
	stuffs them into his pocket and...
		What sort of deal is this? The strips 
		are mine! So why can't I come see 
	And he stares at ALFREDO with a sly, saucy look. ALFREDO clutches his hand, 
	darts forth like an arrow and is about to give him a kick in the ass. He 
		Get out!! And don't show your face 
		here again! 
	And before the kick reaches its destination, SALVATORE has already dashed off 
	down the spiral staircase.
	That was not the first theft of film strips. SALVATORE's hand reaches
	into a flowery metal box jammed full of pieces of film. He takes out a
	few frames and holds them up against the kerosene lamp. Gazes at the
	figures that remind him of the films seen at Cinema Paradiso, and in a
	whisper mangles fragments of dialogue, the shooting of guns, the
	musical climaxes...
		Bang! Bang! Bang! Shoot first, think 
		later! This is no job for weaklings! 
		Treacherous dog!
	The house has no lights, is gloomy and cold. SALVATORE's
	mother, MARIA, is leaning on the table in front of him. She is
	young, around thirty, and her pretty face is haggard, marred by
	all the sacrifices. She is sewing some clothes, is a seamstress. LIA,
	his four-year-old sister, is sleeping on a cot in one corner. The
	kerosene lamp projects the trembling shadow of the film strips on
	the wall, figures of prairies, gunslingers, thugs. SALVATORE's
	voice changes, turns even tougher.
		Hey there, you lousy bastard, take 
		your hands off that gold, You black-
		hearted pig, stay away from me, or 
		I'll smash your face in! 
			(In the heap of movie 
			frames there are also 
			several photographs. 
			SALVATORE picks them up. 
			Family keepsakes. A man in 
			an army uniform. Then the 
			same man with a girl 
			beside him whose smiling 
			face can be recognized as 
			MARIA. SALVATORE takes a 
			closer look at the man's 
			face, then whispers to his 
		Ma, if the war's over, how come 
		Daddy's never come back?
	MARIA looks up at him with a sweet smile.
		He'll be back, he'll be back...
		You'll see. One of these
	But there is not much conviction written on her face. She looks
	back down at her sewing. SALVATORE goes on looking at the
		I don't remember him any more—Ma, 
		where's Russia?
		It takes years to get there. And 
		years to come back...Now go to bed, 
		Toto, it's late.
	SALVATORE puts the photos back into the box and tucks the box
	under LIA's cot near the charcoal burner.
	A noisy crowd of little children in black smocks, white collars and blue
	bows moves about the large courtyard where there are two tall palm
	trees. The boys head for one door, the girls towards the opposite one.
	The Janitors line them up two by two, ready to enter. Here and there,
	parents and relatives accompany the younger ones. Beneath one of the
	palms, SALVATORE pulls off the altar-boy tunic, stuffs it into the
	khaki-colored cardboard schoolbag, takes out the smock and puts it
	on, as one of his schoolmates passes by. It is MASINO, and he's crying
	desperately because he doesn't want to go to school. His FATHER drags
	him along, yelling:
		You can fool your mother but not me! 
		Get yourself a damn diploma and 
		become a policeman. You good-for-
		I don't want to go to school'
			(The sound of the bell. 
			The black lines move up 
			the steps towards the 
	SALVATORE is sitting at the front-row desk next to PEPPINO, 
	a little freckle-faced boy. His attention, like that of the whole class, is 
	concentrated on what is taking place at the blackboard. The TEACHER is standing 
	there, watching a plump little boy, shy and not quite all there, do a two-figure 
	multiplication  it is NICOLA SCORSONE, known as 'COLA'. He is red in the face, 
	has one purple ear and one white one. He stares in terror at that '255 x 15' 
	written on the blackboard. The TEACHER yells, waving a birch rod in her hand. 
		Well then?! Five times five 
	COLA stops to think a moment, then... 
	The TEACHER grabs him by the purple ear and bashes his head against the numbers 
	on the blackboard. A large thud echoes through the room, followed by a roar of 
	laughter. The TEACHER slams her rod on the desk.
			(Then to COLA) 
		The five times table. Dunce! One 
		times five, five!!
			(The class repeats with 
			the TEACHER, in a sing-
			song chorus:)
		Two times five, ten! Three times 
		five, fifteen! Four times five, 
			(With a wave of the rod, 
			the TEACHER silences the 
			class, and finishes the 
			sing-song with the fateful 
		Five times five?
	Another blow of the head on the blackboard. Hubbub.
	Slapping of the rod on the desk. SALVATORE secretly shows
	COLA the picture of a Christmas tree on one page of the book,
	and mouths the word 'twenty-five'. COLA smiles, he has finally
	caught on.
		I'm asking you for the last time, 
		blockhead! Five times five equals...?
			(COLA turns to her with 
			smiling eyes and answers 
	SALVATORE clutches his head in anger, watches the TEACHER
	flogging COLA on the back with the rod. COLA screams at every
	blow, and at every blow the laughter in the class grows louder.
	SALVATORE stares at the rod moving up and down rhythmically. But he is not 
	thinking of the pain his schoolmate is feeling, but is drawn, rather, by that 
	strange regular beat, finds it similar to another regular beat, that of...
	...the rolling pin ALFREDO uses to flatten out a reel of film that has just 
	been unloaded. SALVATORE carefully watches ALFREDO 5 every move. He is not in 
	the projection booth, but up in the balcony, standing on top of the last row of 
	seats. He peers through the hole next to the lion's head. His bright little eyes 
	fix in his mind the things ALFREDO does, as he loads the film into the 
	projector, shuts the fireproof housings, turns on the amplifier, checks the 
	carbons in the arc lamp, then lowers his head to have a look into the theatre 
	and finds himself face to face with SALVATORE.
		What are you doing here? 
		I bought a ticket. I've come to see 
		the film.
			(Meanwhile the USHER comes 
			up behind him and grabs 
			him by the collar, and he 
			almost jumps out of his 
			skin. ALFREDO laughs.)
		Go sit downstairs! You good-for-
		nothing sponger! ! 
			(To the audience) 
		Worse than rabbits they are!
	SALVATORE has run downstairs. The main floor is more
	crowded than the balcony, like every Sunday, and there is a greatdin. The BOY 
	selling ice-cream, soda pop and candy shouts and
	runs around like a chicken with its head off. Now the lights dim,
	the hubbub dies down and the performance starts. Before the film
	there is a preview for Stagecoach. The screen fills with images ofJohn Wayne, 
	the pursuit of the stagecoach by hostile Indians
	SALVATORE is sitting in the front rows, right under the screen,
	next to BOCCIA, COLA, MASINO, PEPPINO and OTHER KIDS, all with their noses in 
	the air. BOCCIA, the biggest show off of the group, is smoking a cigarette. An 
	OLD MAN appears through the entrance curtain, takes a couple of steps and 
		Hello, everybody!
			(At once) 
		Ssssssh!!! Ssssssh! Silence!
		Can't I say hello?
		It's a double-feature today.
		I couldn't care less. I come here to 
	All at once, a chorus of shouts and whistles fills the theatre. Up
	on the screen, a globe of the world appears, spinning among the
	stars, the logo announcing the newsreel.
			(Hooting and whistling) 
		For Christ's sake! Cut it, 
	The CHILDREN in the front rows also yell, but SALVATORE goes
	on being alert. He turns and looks up at the holes of the projection
	booth, as if it were an impregnable fortress. He watches the crazy
	dancing of light in the glowing stream that opens towards him in a
	cone. And besides, that lion's head, mysterious, almost gruesome,
	emphasizes the enigmatic secret of the movies. In his dreamy eyes,
	that lifeless lion seems to wake up with a ferocious roar.
	SALVATORE has a frightened look...Another lion roaring. But up on the screen. 
	The MGM lion. The throng of children imitate the famous growl all together, 
	shaking their heads in unison.
		Grrrr! Grrrrr! 
	The film starts: it is Visconti's La terra trema. SALVATORE is in bliss. His 
	wide eyes looking up at the magic square of light. The title music. Another OLD 
	MAN enters at the back of the theatre, but before sitting down, says hello in a 
	loud voice.
		Greetings to one and all!
		SSSSSH' Drop dead! Silence! Hey, 
		kids, we're here to see the film! 
	Now there is an important sequence. The audience is silent. Concentrated on the 
	screen. BOCCIA passes the lighted cigarette to SALVATORE. He takes a puff and 
	hands it on to the others without ever taking his eyes off the screen. The 
	beautiful star of the film appears on screen. A different kind of attention 
	takes hold of the excited audience. SALVATORE and the others stare at her with 
	open mouths...She leans towards the leading man, a languid expression, their 
	profiles touch. But all at once, just at the best part, there is a sudden jolt. 
	The kiss isn't seen.
		Ahhh! What a shame! I've been going 
		to the movies for twenty years and I 
		never saw a kiss! 
	SALVATORE is the only one to laugh to himself. He knows what has happened.
		And when will we see one? 
	Up in the balcony, the audience is more sedate. The tickets cost more and the 
	people are richer, more refined. Among them, a MAN with a moustache, the look of 
	a public notary, is sitting right in front of the railing. Seriously, without 
	batting an eye, he spits down below with contempt. Right on the dot, a voice is 
	heard, followed by a chorus of protests.
		Bugger!!! Ssssh!!! Silence!!
	The bell-tower rings midnight. The square is nearly deserted. Except
	for a landowner near the refreshment stand, with a moustache and a
	hat, DON VINCENZO by name, who is picking out from a group of
	labourers the men he'll be needing in the country at dawn. He chooses,
	points his finger, calls...
	People come out of the movie house after the last showing.
	The USHER locks the front door as ALFREDO climbs down from the
	projection booth. Among the crowd there is only one kid, SALVATORE.
	Tired, half-asleep. He's seen all the showings. He starts to walk away
	when he catches sight of his mother standing on the opposite corner,
	wrapped in an old coat. She's waiting for him, in a temper.
	SALVATORE drops his eyes to the ground, mortified. He knows what's
	coming. He goes over to her timidly, uncertain, gives her a questioning
		I've been looking for you all day. 
		Did you buy the milk?
		Then where's the money?
		Somebody stole it.
	MARIA gives him a slap. SALVATORE holds back the sobs, but
	his eyes brim with tears. ALFREDO and the USHER are nearby,
	have heard everything.
		What'd you do with the money? Go to 
		the movies?
	SALVATORE nods his head and the sobs increase. MARIA, in
	despair, flies off the handle, slaps him again, but looks as if she
	doesn't really want to, as if deep down she forgives her son's
	escapade. ALFREDO catches on, speaks up on behalf of
		Signora Maria, don't do that. He's 
		just a kid. 
		And why are you telling fibs? 
			(To MARIA) 
		We let him in free. He must have lost 
		the money inside the movie
			(SALVATORE stares at him 
			in amazement, goes on 
			listening to him.)
		How much did you have?
		Fifty lire...
			(MARIA wipes away his tears.)
			(To the USHER) 
		What you find tonight on the floor 
		between the seats?
			(The USHER reaches into-
			his pockets, pulls out 
			some odds and ends.)
		A comb, two heel-savers, a box of 
			(ALFREDO very skillfully 
			reaches out with fifty 
			lire he has taken
			from his pocket. And like 
			a magician he draws the 
			money out of
			the USHER'S hand.)
		...and fifty lire! 
			(To MARIA) 
			(He hands over the money 
			under the USHER'S 
			astonished eyes.)
		Thanks, Uncle Alfredo. Thanks. Good-
	She walks away, dragging SALVATORE by the hand. ALFREDO
	gives him a wink. SALVATORE smiles and winks back, but he's
	not very good at it; he can't manage to shut only one eye.
	Everybody leaves and the square empties, as the VILLAGE IDIOT
	comes up to the group of labourers, beside DON VINCENZO,
	motioning them all to get moving.
		It's midnight. I've got to shut down 
		the square! Go away.
		The square's mine! The square's 
	SALVATORE, dressed as an altar boy, walks alongside the PRIEST
	who is wearing the ceremonial vestments. They are tired, have walked
	a long way. Behind them a donkey pulls a wagon containing a little
	white coffin and a bunch of flowers. Behind that a little procession  the
	parents and relatives of the dead child. The road is very wide, covered
	with white earth. The spring sun is dazzling. The funeral procession
	kicks up a cloud of dust that makes everything blurred and hazy, like a
	dream, rimmed around the horizon by the blue line of the sea. The
	procession now turns into the large gate of the cemetery. ALFREDO,
	working in the fields, takes his hat off and watches the coffin as it passes by.
						Cut to:
	The funeral is over. The PRIEST and SALVATORE are walking back
	to the village. ALFREDO appears out of the countryside on e bicycle
	with a hoe and other farm tools in the basket. He comes pedaling up
	beside them.
		Good morning, father. It's hard on 
		the feet, huh?
		Yeah!...Getting there's downhill and 
		all the saints help you. But coming 
		back! The saints stand there watching 
		you, that's all! God's will be done.
	SALVATORE is about to open his mouth, wants to say something
	to ALFREDO, but he doesn't have time. ALFREDO pedals harder
	and rides off.
	SALVATORE is crestfallen. He looks et the PRIEST, then at the bicycle riding 
	away. His eyes light up  an idea! He suddenly yells:
		Ouch! Ouch! My foot! I can't walk!
	He limps. Throws himself to the ground as if a snake had bitten him. The PRIEST 
	leans over in alarm. Up ahead in the distance, ALFREDO turns around to look.
						Cut to:
	There is a smile on SALVATORE'S face. He is riding on the crossbar of ALFREDO's 
	bicycle. On their way back lo the village.
		Alfredo, did you know my father?
		Of course I knew your father. He was 
		tall, thin, pleasant, and had a 
		moustache like mine. Always smiling. 
		He looked like Clark Gable. 
	There's something SALVATORE wants to talk about, but he doesn't know how to 
	start. He has a try with an innocent stratagem.
		Alfredo, now that I'm older, I'm not 
		saying I can start coming to the 
		projection booth, to the movie 
		house...But...maybe, why don't we 
		become friends? 
	ALFREDO knows exactly what the little rascal is up to, and answers in a 
	strange, theatrical tone, as if he were repeating something he knows by heart, a 
	remark taken from some old film.
			'I choose my friends for their 
		looks, and my enemies for their 
		You're too smart to be my friend. 
		Besides, as I always tell my kids, be 
		careful to pick the right friends!
		But you don't have any kids!!!
		All right, all right! When I've got 
		kids that's what I'm telling them! 
			(The outlying houses of 
			Giancaldo finally heave 
			into sight.)
	LIA, SALVATORE'S kid sister, is crying outside the front door, terror
	stricken. Her face is smeared with smoke and her little dress half
	scorched and soaking wet. MARIA is distraught, damp with sweat, and
	tries to console her, hugging her in her arms.
		Stop crying...The fire is out...I'm 
		here...That'll do, that'll do...
			come up behind them. 
			SALVATORE has barely leapt 
			off the bicycle when his 
			mother sails into him like 
			a fury, shrieking:)
		Miserable boy! You're the ruin of me! 
		Your sister would have been burnt 
		alive if I hadn't been there! And all 
		your fault!
	SALVATORE darts off, chased by his mother, swift as a deer.
	ALFREDO doesn't understand what has happened, leans over
	LIA, who goes on bawling her eyes out, and sees on the ground, in
	the middle of the water, a flowery box all charred and still
	smoking, and all around scraps of film reduced to ashes and
	several singed photographs, the photos of SALVATORE s father.
	ALFREDO gets the message now, looks up at MARIA, who has
	caught SALVATORE and is dragging him home, hitting and
	slapping him all the way. SALVATORE covers his head with his
	hands to stave off the blows. MARIA turns to ALFREDO, in a
	stern, indignant voice.
		But aren't you ashamed of yourself, 
		Uncle Alfredo, playing with a little 
		boy at your age?!
		But...what's it got to do with 
		And who gave him all those films? 
		Promise you won't give him any more 
		of this trash! Don't let him set foot 
		any more in the movie house. The 
		boy's crazy! Crazy! All he talks 
		about is movies and Alfredo' Alfredo 
		and movies!! 
	ALFREDO is crestfallen, didn't think that SALVATORE'S craziness, his morbid 
	passion for movies, could go this far.
		I give you my word, Donna Maria. 
			(MARIA now turns one last 
			time to her son.)
		God's got to grant me one wish! Send 
		your father back home! And he'll see 
		you get what's coming to you! 
			(SALVATORE lowers his 
			hands, looks at her and 
			with the dreadful 
			sincerity of children:)
		Daddy's not coming back...He's dead. 
			(An icy flash runs through 
			MARIA'S eyes.)
		It's not true! No! It's not true!!! 
		I'll show you he's coming back!
	And she beats him desperately, as if to enforce her stubborn hope, slap after 
	slap. This time ALFREDO doesn't step in, lets MARIA give vent 
	to her rage and fury, but SALVATORE'S cries make him feel guilty.
	Another Sunday. A crowd of men has gathered in the square around the café where 
	there is a loudspeaker. They are listening to the running commentary of the 
	soccer games. They check their Sisal pools coupons. NICOLO CAROSIO'S VOICE 
	...We're at the seventh minute of the second half. Turin is leading one to 
	zero. The goal was scored by...(The scene is seen from above, by ALFREDO who 
	peers out of the window of the projection booth. CAROSIO'S voice drowns out the 
	soundtrack of the film being shown. ALFREDO is bored. He goes over to the 
	projector, looks through the hole...It's the last sequence of the film. The 
	music swells to a climax as 'THE END' appears on the screen. Swift as ever, 
	ALFREDO turns on the lights in the theatre' stops the projector. Looks back 
	through the hole, to see...)
	...the house packed to the rafters. Voices and laughter of the children. Smoke, 
	ice-cream, soft drinks. The USHER has opened the emergency exits to let in air. 
	He fights off the gate-crashers who are trying to get in free. The sound of the 
	sports commentary fills the theatre. The village BLACKSMITH is sleeping in his 
	seat, his head thrown back and his mouth wide open. The KIDS blow up the empty 
	ice-cream sacks and pop them next to his ears. Bang! The BLACKSMITH wakes up 
	with a start, in a sea of laughter. He yells:  
		Ah! I'll wring all your necks!! Or my 
		good name means nothing! !! Lousy 
	SALVATORE doesn't laugh. He is sad. He turns and looks up at the projection 
	booth. He sees ALFREDO through the lion's mouth. ALFREDO also catches sight of 
	him. SALVATORE gives him a timid wave of the hand, as if asking if he can come 
	up a moment. The look on ALFREDO'S face is unmistakable, irrevocable: N0! 
	SALVATORE'S not surprised; after what happened it won't be easy to win him over. 
	Yet there must be some way. But what is it? As usual, SALVATORE is smart as the 
	devil when he's out to get something. Through the emergency exit he sees a woman 
	pass by with a packet in her hand. It is ALFREDO's WIFE, and the packet is his 
	supper. SALVATORE leaps to his feet and runs out to her.
		Signora Anna!
	ALFREDO starts up the projector. It's time for the documentaries and
	cartoons. SALVATORE peers in from the top of the stairs. He's scared of
	ALFREDO'S reaction, but pricks up his courage and shows him the
	packet. ALFREDO sees him, is about to pounce on him...
			(On the defensive) 
		Your wife told me to bring you this. 
	His expression betrays the 'put on'. ALFREDO sighs, realizes it's another one of 
	his little games.
		Give it to me!...
	He takes the packet, unwraps it and lifts the lid, shuts it again and puts the 
	container inside the lamp of the projector to keep it warm. SALVATORE hasn't 
	missed a single gesture, but speaks with his eyes 
	to the poor.
		I told my mother you weren't the one 
		who gave me the films. That it 
		wasn't your fault. But I thought you 
		said the film could catch fire just 
		to scare me. Now that I know, I won't 
		steal any more from you. That's all I 
		wanted to say. I'm going. 
			(He turns to leave but 
			ALFREDO takes him by the 
			shoulder and stops 
		Toto, come here. 
	All things considered, there is something in that little boy, maybe his 
	feverish passion, that strikes him. He'll talk to him seriously, without 
	resorting to terrorism, try to convince him. He lowers the volume of the 
	monitor, sits down on the stool. SALVATORE raises his eyes from the floor and 
	looks at him at last...
		Now listen to what I've got to say. I 
		took up this profession when I 
		was ten years old. In those days 
		there weren't these modern machines. 
		The films were silent. The projectors 
		were run by hand, like this, with a 
		crank. And you wound the crank all 
		day long. It was really rough going! 
		If you got tired and slowed down' 
		boom! Everything would go up in 
		Then why don't you want to teach it 
		to me too? Now that there's no more 
		cranking, and it's easier?
		Because I don't want to, Toto! This 
		is not a job for you. It's like being 
		a slave. You're always alone. You see 
		the same film over and over again, 
		because you have nothing else to do. 
		And you start talking to Greta Garbo 
		and Tyrone Power like a nut! You work 
		on holidays, on Christmas, on Easter. 
		Only on Good Friday are you free. But 
		if they hadn't put Jesus Christ on a 
		cross...You'd work Good Fridays too! 
		Then why don't you change jobs? 
			(ALFREDO sighs, irritated. 
			He reaches out to turn the 
			knob of the carbon rods. 
			He gazes at SALVATORE as 
			if he were a grown-up, 
			somebody who's making 
			things hard for him.)
		Because I'm an idiot. How many other 
		guys in town know how to be a 
		projectionist? None! Only a jerk like 
		me could do it. Besides I wasn't 
		lucky. When I was a kid there was the 
		war! When I grew up, another war! Now 
		it's all different. Times have 
		changed. And you want to be a dope 
		like me? Huh? Answer me!
		Good for you, Toto. Good for you...
		I'm only saying this for your own 
			(He gets up and, speaking 
			all the while, goes into a 
			closet with a bucket 
			in it, the toilet of the 
			booth. He turns his back 
			and pees. )
		Cooped up in here you die of heat in 
		the summer and of cold in the winter. 
		You breathe in smoke, gas fumes, and 
		earn practically nothing. 
			(SALVATORE listens to 
			him, but taking advantage 
			of the fact he can't be 
			seen, he turns the knob of 
			the carbon rods, just as 
			he had seen done a moment 
			(In a loud voice) 
		But don't you like anything about 
		what you do? 
			(SALVATORE gazes at the 
			photos on the wall: 
			Keaton, Garbo, Snow 
			White. ALFREDO 
			smiles to himself. Sure, 
			there's something about 
			that damn job he likes:)
		With get used to it. 
		Besides, when you hear from up here 
		that there's a full house and that 
		people are laughing, having fun...
		Then you're happy too.
			(ALFREDO is lost in 
			thought, doesn't notice 
			that the documentaries
			and cartoons have 
			finished. The screen is 
			blank. And down in the
			theatre laughter is not 
			heard but an uproar of 
			whistling and
			swearing. SALVATORE'S eyes 
			sparkle, he seizes the 
			He turns on the lights and 
			stops the projector, just 
			would have done. At which 
			ALFREDO buttons up his 
			pants in a
			hurry and rushes over 
			alarmed, but sees that 
			everything is in order.
			SALVATORE looks at him all 
			smiles, as if he expected 
			a medal for
			civil bravery. Instead, 
			ALFREDO reacts like a wild 
		So I've been wasting my breath? You 
		pretend to agree with
		me, but as soon as my back is turned, 
		you do what you want!
			(He gives SALVATORE a kick 
			in the ass, shrieking:)
		Get out of here! I don't want to lay 
		eyes on you again! This is
		the last straw! Your mother's right, 
		you're crazy!!
			(He pushes him towards the 
			stairs. SALVATORE suddenly
			vanishes, scared out of 
			his wits. ALFREDO talks to 
			himself, in a
		But how'd he do it? The little 
		bastard! By watching, he's
		learned! It's incredible!
			(He peers out of the 
			window, yelling, as he 
			running through the 
			square. )
		I'm letting the box office know  
		you're not to set foot even into
		the theatre! There are no more 
		tickets for you! And I'm also
		talking to Father Adelfio! You won't 
		be an altar boy any more
		either!!! You little runt!
			(SALVATORE looks at him. 
			Hates him. Yells something 
		Alfredo, go fuck yourself!!! 
			(But his words are drowned 
			out by the sudden shouting 
			of the people outside the 
		Goal!! Holy Mother of God!!! 
			(A MAN in the crowd 
			crumples to the ground. 
			The others swarm around 
			him, alarmed. They hold up 
			his head. His face is 
			pale. They check the 
			coupon he is clutching in 
			his hand. A voice rises 
			like a siren from the 
		Ciccio Spaccafico's won the 
			(The yell can be heard...)
	...inside the movie house. The audience murmurs. Somebody opens
	an emergency exit...
		The Neapolitan's won the lottery!!! 
		Let's go see, kids!!! Northerners are 
		always lucky!
			(The whole audience leaps 
			up and heads for the exit. 
			Pushing. Shouting. 
			Laughing and Joking. )
	Summer has come. The village has a different look. The peddlers sing their 
	monotonous refrains in the village streets. In one street, women are busy 
	canning tomatoes. In one corner of the square, the SHEARER has finished clipping 
	the donkey and is now shaving the hair of a row of bare-chested URCHINS with 
	nothing on but their underwear. Then another MAN disinfects them by spraying 
	them with the hand pumps used to spray trees in the country. The URCHINS 
	laugh. The BILL-POSTER is hanging up the posters of a new film, 'TODAY AT CINEMA
	The fifth-grade exams. In the vast dining hall all the children are seated, one 
	for each desk, under the watchful eyes of the teachers. SALVATORE, BOCCIA, 
	PEPPINO, MASINO and COLA have taken places here and there, as nervous as 
	everybody else. The EXAMINING BOARD MEMBER is dictating the text of the 
	arithmetic problem. 
		A merchant owns two stores. In the 
		first he sells fruit and vegetables. 
		In the second he sells nails and 
			(The PRINCIPAL comes in, 
			interrupts the dictation.) 
		Excuse me, professor. Here are the 
		men taking the exam for the 
		elementary school certificate. 
			(Turning to the door) 
		Come in, please...
			(All the children turn to 
			look. A MAN around thirty 
			enters, ill at ease. The 
			children recognize him and 
			laugh mischievously. The 
			second is the BLACKSMITH, 
			the one who falls asleep 
			at the movies. The third 
			is a twenty-year-old-boy, 
			ANGELO. The fourth is 
			ALFREDO, embarrassed and 
			red in the face. SALVATORE 
			is speechless. Gives a 
			slightly ironic laugh. 
			There is a look of revenge 
			in his shrewd little 
						Cut to:
	The assignment is now being carried out. There is dead silence in the 
	TEACHERS and the PRINCIPAL moue about, checking to be sure there are no notes 
	being handed around or other forms of 'collaboration'. The four outsiders are 
	having a hard time. It can be seen on their faces. ALFREDO is also in trouble, 
	doesn't know how to solve the problem, the calculations are too diff cult. He 
	looks at the desk next to him, where SALVATORE is sitting. SALVATORE is about to 
	look up at him, but ALFREDO immediately looks away, too proud to let himself be 
	The exchange of glances continues, grotesque, almost comical. SALVATORE 
	meanwhile writes down numbers and operations quite quickly. ALFREDO can't stand 
	it any longer, is nervous, beaded with sweat. He's sorry he ever showed up. 
	SALVATORE laughs up his sleeve, now he has the upper hand. ALFREDO tries 
	sneaking a look at his exercise book in order to copy something. But SALVATORE 
	turns his back, hiding it from sight. ALFREDO tries sneaking a look at somebody 
	else's exercise book, but the damn kid also covers it. It looks like a 
	conspiracy against him. ALFREDO has no way out. He has to accept the idea of 
	eating humble pie. He looks at SALVATORE, motions him with his eyes in a 
	conversation of glances. He asks for help, but SALVATORE stands firm, 
	ALFREDO tries to put it into words in a low voice.
		YOU jerk. Tell me how to solve this 
		fucking problem! 
		Ssssh! Silence back there!! 
	ALFREDO insists with his eyes. SALVATORE makes him understand with gestures 
	that he could help him maybe, but...on one condition. He imitates the gesture 
	of winding the crank of the projector. ALFREDO gets the message. It's pure 
	blackmail. He rubs his hand over his sweating face, raises his eyes to the 
	ceiling as if he were swearing. Then he surrenders, accepts the condition. 
	SALVATORE is serious, does not flaunt his victory, but you can tell he is happy. 
	He takes out a sheet of paper he had already prepared, with the solution to the 
	problem, rolls it up into a tiny ball and as soon as the TEACHER passes by, 
	takes aim and flicks it to him. ALFREDO'S hand catches the precious and dearly 
	bought message in mid-air. Their quarrel is over.
	A bright, lilting tune marks the rhythm of the quick, blurred images, as
	in a dance, the images of ALFREDO teaching SALVATORE all the
	secrets of the projectionist trade.
	ALFREDO slips the reel on to the projector, unrolls the trailer and hands
	it to SALVATORE. SALVATORE mounts the film on the sprockets.
	Now SALVATORE sets the projector into motion, opens the shutter and
	stands on tip-toe to see the screen from the hole...
	A shot from In nome della legge. The main-floor audience applauds a
	line spoken by Massimo Gironi. And from the balcony, the same little
	MAN with the face of a public notary spits below.
		Bastard!! Pencil-pusher!!
	ALFREDO shows SALVATORE the running of the film. He points
	to a place on the projector.
		Pay attention. This is where it can 
		easily catch fire. If it
		happens, the first thing you've got 
		to do is break it off, here
		and here, so the whole reel doesn't 
		go up in fames.
	On the screen, a shot from Riso amaro. A kiss. Unrelenting, the PRIEST rings his 
	bell. SALVATORE licks the film on one side, then on the other. He laughs.
		You understand which side the 
		gelatin's on?
		It tastes wonderful!
	A shot of Amedeo Nazzari in La figlia del capitano. A jump,
	an out-of-rack frame. The audience whistles.
		Fraaaame!! Wake up, Alfredo!
			(SALVATORE tries to do a 
			hand-binding. ALFREDO 
			winds the film, hangs a 
			slip on a nail in the 
		These are the shipping invoices for 
		the film. They are always to be kept. 
		You see?
		OK, Alfredo.
	Down on the main floor, a scene from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
	Everyone screams and hides their faces when Hyde looks at the
		Holy Mother! What a face! So ugly!
	One young man, ANGELO, doesn't hide his face. He looks up at
	a young woman, ROSA, in the balcony, who turns and smiles at
	ALFREDO gives SALVATORE a wooden stool. He's had it made especially for him, so 
	he can be high enough to reach the reels of the projector and the arc lamp. 
	SALVATORE climbs up on it. He laughs, all excited. 
		Now you can run it by yourself. 
	SALVATORE gives another smile. He is posing in a photographer's studio . He is 
	all dressed up for first communion, holding a white lily. The flash goes off 
	like lightning during a storm. Now SALVATORE is posing next to his mother and 
	little sister. They smile without hugging. Another flash of light. Click!
	Another click. The transparency of Rita Hayworth in her black gown
	from Gilda. MASINO is pasting it inside a minute pair of plastic field
	glasses. Other pupils crowd around him in excitement.
			(In a whisper) 
		Christ, what a piece of ass!!!
	But there is not a cheerful atmosphere in the class - on the
	contrary, a strange silence. The pupils are all standing around the
	teacher's desk, having received their end-of-the-year report cards.
	PEPPINO, who shared SALVATORE s desk, is saying goodbye to
	his schoolmates. BOCCIA, COLA, the others. They have serious,
	sad expressions. He and SALVATORE kiss like grown-ups. The
	TEACHER is standing among them. One of the schoolmates does
	not respond lo PEPPINO's goodbye gesture. He takes a few steps
	back, serious, scared, his eyes lowered.
		Di Francesco, aren't you saying 
		goodbye to your schoolmate?
			(DI FRANCESCO gives his 
			head a little shake. The 
			TEACHER leans over to 
		But why?
			(DI FRANCESCO whispers, 
			almost into her ear.)
		My father says he's a Communist...
	Another farewell scene in the square. PEPPINO to his grandparents. His father 
	and mother are also there, saying goodbye to the old folks. There are tears. The 
	cardboard suitcases tied with string are loaded on to the luggage rack of the 
	black car. The scene is watched by SALVATORE and ALFREDO, up in the window of 
	the projection booth. They look like old friends. On the sound monitor, the 
	strains of some American musical comedy tune. 
		Will they really find work in 
		Who knows?...It's like an adventure. 
			(In a theatrical voice) 
		Hope springs eternal...
			(PEPPINO from the distance 
			gives one last wave at the 
			window of the 
			projection booth. 
			SALVATORE waves back.) 
		Peppinoooo! Come back sooon!! 
			(The black car drives off, 
			leaving a cloud of dust 
			that envelops the 
			suppressed sobs of the 
			grandparents standing 
			there waving 	
			handkerchiefs. SALVATORE 
			watches the car drive off. 
			He mumbles:) 
		Good thing Germany's closer than 
	ALFREDO rubs his hand through his hair.
	The lion's head with the beam of light, seen from the balcony.
	SALVATORE'S face appears in the hole beside it, as he peers down at the
	images of the Settimana Incom newsreel.
	The audience is distracted. The snoring of a man sleeping can be heard.
	A pair of urchins pick up a cockroach with their hands, tip-toe down the
	aisle. The sleeping man is the same old BLACKSMITH, with his head
	thrown back. A little hand drops the cockroach into the gaping mouth.
	The URCHINS take to their heels. The BLACKSMITH squirms, wake up
	with a start. Spits, while everybody laughs. The newsreel is now about
	missing soldiers in Russia.
		The Defense Minister has announced a 
		new listof names of Italian soldiers, 
		so far considered missing and now
		confirmed as dead. Families concerned 
		will be notified directly by military 
	SALVATORE pays careful attention, sees the black-and-white
	shots of the last war. The Russian campaign. The troops in the
	snow. Now in detail a heap of personal objects found on the
	corpses. Documents, clothing, glasses, photographs. One quick
	detail catches SALVATORE's eye  among those photographs, for one
	instant he sees one he thinks he recognizes. He quickly sticks a slip of paper 
	into the take-up reel, as when marking the kisses to be cut.
	The hands of an OFFICIAL tear off several forms and give them to
	MARIA who is sitting in front of the desk. She is dressed in black.
	SALVATORE stands beside her, holding her hand. They have black
	bands on their arms. An empty stare in their eyes.
	MARIA is pale, a cold look in her sunken eyes. Her heart is bursting in
	her breast. And a lump in her throat prevents her from speaking. She
	looks at her husband's belongings, identifies them  a gold chain, an ID
	card and the photograph, the one SALVATORE saw in the newsreel.
	MARIA strokes it with her fingers. SALVATORE comes up and looks, as
	the OFFICIAL concludes:
		...Unfortunately we don't know what 
		war cemetery he's buried in...This 
		is the form for the pension. If you'd 
		like to sign it...
	MARIA walks through the city. She holds SALVATORE by the hand. SALVATORE looks 
	up, trying to catch her eye. He sees her crying, in silence. The heartbroken 
	tears of someone who has lost the one last hope, but held back, so as not to be 
	seen by the child. SALVATORE presses close and puts his arm around her waist. 
	They turn the corner, and walk off in the noisy city, disfigured by the ruins of 
	war. A poster for Gone with the Wind catches SALVATORE's eye. He smiles.
	Winter has returned. On the screen, a sequence from I pompieri di Viggiu. The 
	theatre is jam full. The sea of heads sways and shakes at the irresistible jokes 
	of Toto. 
	Some people have climbed up on the window-sills. The aisles are crammed, an the 
	way down to the screen, where grown-ups and children sit on the floor, their 
	noses in the air. Some people munch crusts of bread they've brought along from 
	home. Almost everybody is smoking. A woman laughs, holding the baby she is 
	nursing. In one corner, at the end of one of the aisles jammed with people 
	standing, a girl laughs, but every now and then her expression reveals a look of 
	deep pleasure. 
	Her body moves slightly. Clinging to her from the rear is a man bathed in sweat. 
	They are making love standing there among the crowd, which notices nothing and 
	goes on laughing.
	In the balcony ANGELO is holding hands with ROSA.
	The curtain over the entrance is open. People are also standing there,
	seeing what they can from the distance, even a corner of the screen
	through the forest of heads. But the line continues on outside...All the
	way to the entrance of the movie house, out in the square. There are
	crowds of people, shivering from the cold, who protest, shove, risk
	provoking incidents. The PRIEST, Father Adelfio, is exhausted, tries to
	calm them down.
		Don't shove! There's no room! For 
		heaven's sake! I can't
		give another showing, it's late!
		Father Adelfio, we've been here for 
		an hour! There are people inside 
		who've seen it twice! ! ! Move on!!
		Ouch!! My foot!!!
	It has just stopped raining, the bell-tower rings eleven o'clock. On
	the poster of the film a ' LAST DAY' sticker. The PRIEST, the
	TICKET-SELLER, the USHER and TWO CARABINIERES push the crowd back, close the 
	front door. The protest grows louder. Fists pound the door.
		Open up!!! Father Adelfio!!
			(The audience in the 
			theatre hears the uproar. 
		Ssssh! Sssssh! Be quiet out there!! 
		What the hell!
			(From the window of the 
			projection booth, ALFREDO 
			and SALVATORE look at the 
			crowd down below, yelling 
			and complaining. Some of 
			the people look up at 
			them. )
		Alfredooo! We want to get in!...
		Tomorrow you're taking it off!
			(ALFREDO spreads his arms 
			out as if to say there s 
			nothing he can do.)
		Why can't we show the same film 
		It's got to be sent to another town. 
		And if we don't the owner of that 
		movie house gets pissed off.
		Too bad!
	The crowd sways nervously. The CARABINIERES give order.
		Stop! Go home, all of you! Otherwise 
		somebody's going to end up in jail!' 
		That's enough!
		'Joe! A mob doesn't think, doesn't 
		know what it's doing...'
			(SALVATORE gives him a 
			curious, inquisitive look. 
			ALFREDO smiles.)
		Spencer Tracy said it in Fury. 
		What'd you say if we let these poor 
		devils see the film, Toto? 
			(SALVATORE stares at him 
			in amazement, all 
		Wonderful! But how can it be done? 
	ALFREDO turns away from the window. He gives a smirk, imitates the tough 
	American movie stars.
		You don't believe my words, but 
		you'll have to believe your own 
		eyes!...And now get your ass off 
		that damn stool, boy! 
	SALVATORE laughs, eagerly, as if he were about to see a whole new movie. He 
	climbs off the stool. Both of them move towards the projector...
	Trying not to put his hand in front of the lens, ALFREDO removes the
	frame with the glass that protects the projection. He wheels it around
	and motions SALVATORE to look...On the wall behind the projector:
	the film picture appears gradually, reflected by the glass, moves as the
	glass moves all the way over to the window looking out over the square.
	There it disappears. SALVATORE can barely believe his eyes, as if it
	were a piece of magic. He takes a quick look through the hole to see if
	the film is still showing on the screen. It is.
		Go to the window, boy, and have a 
	SALVATORE goes over to the window. Looks out. The reflected
	beam of light ends up on the white row of houses facing the
	square. It's like another screen. Except the images are
	backwards, like when you look in a mirror. And here and there
	are the windows of the houses...For SALVATORE, it's a
	wonderful spectacle, like a dream, ravishing.
		Alfredo, it's beautiful.
			(A voice is heard in the 
			crowd of people jammed 
			around the entrance to the 
			movie house.)
		Hey, look there!! The movie!!
			(All heeds turn to look at 
			the house behind them.)
		Oh, praise the Lord!! It's true! 
		Look! The movie!! There's Toto!! 
		Hurry! Hurry!...THANKS, ALFRED0000!!
	And everybody runs over to the other side of the square, in front
	of the strange new screen. ALFREDO and SALVATORE watch with glittering eyes. 
	SALVATORE lays his hand on the shoulder of his great pal.
		Good for you, Alfredo! 
	A close-up of Toto projected on the houses, and one of the windows opens. A MAN 
	appears, in his pajamas. Dazzled by the light, he shades his eyes with his hand. 
	He sees all those people looking at him and laughing together.
		Shut the window!! Shut the window! Go 
		to bed!! 
	The MAN is dazed. Doesn't now what's going on. Looks around, and sees the 
	black-and-white figures of the film dancing around him. He pops back inside, 
	slams the window shut, almost cared.
			(To ALFREDO) 
		Sound!!! Sound!! Alfredooooo!!
		What do you say, should we make them 
		Sure, sure! 
	ALFREDO takes the loudspeaker of the monitor, rings it over to the window, 
	turns it around towards the square. He turns up he volume and the sound-track 
	fills the square. A chorus of approval.
		Aaaaaaaa! At last!
			(Looking at SALVATORE) 
		Do you want to go down there? 
			(SALVATORE gives a 
			contented nod.) 
		Go on. 
	SALVATORE runs on. ALFREDO looks wistfully towards the huge image in the 
	square. Down in the square SALVATORE heads for the crowd, his eyes trained on 
	the house-front screen. Behind him, the door of the movie house opens. The 
	PRIEST, Father Adelfio, sees the film being projected on the house front, 
	the people standing or sitting on the ground, laughing. His eyes nearly pop out 
	of his head. Then he motions over the TICKET-SELLER, whispers something into his 
	ear. The TICKET-SELLER strides over to the shivering spectators, pulls the pad 
	of tickets out of his pocket.
		Ladies and gentlemen! You have to buy 
		tickets! Reduced rate! 
	An irresistible chorus of Bronx cheers washes over him. SALVATORE looks around, 
	highly amused.
		Fuck off!! The square belongs to 
			(The VILLAGE IDIOT peers 
			Out Of the crowd, all 
			worked up.) 
		No!!! The square's mine!!! Come on, 
		kids, no joking around here!!! 
	The crowd roars with laughter. SALVATORE laughs too, as if carried away by it 
	all. And over the general merriment looms the shadow of ALFREDO, standing in the 
	window of the projection booth. All at once, on the house-front screen, the 
	image of Toto slows down for an instant, a white blister appears and spreads 
	until it fills the whole screen. The crowd gives a start of bewilderment and 
	fear. SALVATORE jerks his head around to look at the booth.
	The film bursts violently into flame among the gears and sprockets of the 
	projector. ALFREDO is taken off-guard. He breaks the film running into the take-
	up reel, but is unable to do it for the delivery reel. He grabs the film which 
	is catching fire and pulls it out quickly, tries to stop the flames from 
	reaching the reel in the f reproof housing. A desperate race against the speed 
	of the fire. The flames on the floor burn his legs. ALFREDO gives a jump, slows 
	down the movement of his hands for an instant and inevitably the flames run 
	ahead, reach the upper housing. It's like an explosion. The flames leap out, 
	striking him full in the face. ALFREDO doesn't have time to scream, struggles 
	desperately and falls to the floor. Meanwhile the flames envelop everything.
	The flash of the flames flares up in the windows of the projection booth. 
	SALVATORE is appalled, elbows his way through the moving 
	crowd. Inside the movie house the murmuring of the audience can be heard, 
	growing louder and louder. A scream...
	A violent spurt of flames leaps out of the mouth of the plaster lion's head, 
	into the darkness broken by the screams of people rushing for the exits.
	The crowd streaks out of the movie house, enveloped in a cloud of black smoke. 
		Heeeelp! Run for your lives!!! 
	In the general panic, SALVATORE tries in vain to get inside, elbows his way 
	towards the street with the stairs leading to the projection booth. The audience 
	clashes against him, knocks him to the ground, almost trampling him underfoot. 
	He is suddenly seized by a superhuman force; gets up, claws his way desperately 
	ahead, with people falling on top of him and to the floor. He finally succeeds, 
	starts up the stairs...
	The place is filled with smoke. The air is suffocating. SALVATORE streaks up the 
	stairs, gasping for breath. The projection booth is enveloped inflames. 
	ALFREDO's body on the floor, burning. SALVATORE moves quickly, throws a blanket 
	over his shoulders, drags him by the feet over to the stairs, as boxes and other 
	objects fall on him. Using the same blanket, he stamps out the flames that have 
	seared ALFREDO'S clothes. With the force of desperation, he drags him further 
	down the stairs which have been reached by the smoke but not by the flames. 
	ALFREDO doesn't move, his face is burnt. SALVATORE looks at him and only now is 
	panic-stricken, lets out a terrified shriek, like a wounded colt. 
		Alfredo! Heeeelp! Help!!!
	The plaster lion looks like a dragon spitting fire and smoke. The statue of the 
	Virgin Mary is also in flames. And the movie screen.
	The fire has been put out. Nothing remains of the movie house but the skeleton. 
	Everything has gone up in smoke. 
	People stand around, dismayed. They gather around the PRIEST, who is at once 
	grieved and shocked, to express their solidarity and comfort. 
		What a pity! Poor Alfredo! What a 
		terrible thing!! Cheer up, Father, is 
		there something we can do?'
		Burnt up...Burnt up. 
		What'll we do now! The town will have 
		to get along without movies! Who's 
		got the money to rebuild it? 
	CICCIO SPACCAFICO, the man who won the Sisal pools, comes up, dressed in style. 
	He looks up at the charred cinema. It looks like a battlefield after an enemy 
	attack. From the smoke and ashes to...
	...The great lighted sign of the CINEMA PARADISO . The movie house has been 
	rebuilt. New facade. New billboards. There are people 
	moving about the entrance. It is the evening of the inauguration...
	The lobby is crowded with people, authorities, special guests. There is the 
	MAYOR, FATHER ADELFIO and the new owner, CICCIO SPACCAFICO, dressed to the 
	teeth. The MAYOR cuts the ribbon. Flashbulbs pop. Clapping. 
		Cheers' Congratulations, Don Ciccio! 
	The procession advances towards the stairs leading into the theatre. FATHER 
	ADELFIO, with a nostalgic sigh, blesses the lobby, then the corridor. Lastly, 
	the new auditorium, which resounds with toasts and cheers.
		To the Cinema Paradiso! 
	The PRIEST sprinkles the new seats, the walls, the screen with holy water...
	Now FATHER ADELFIO is blessing the brand-new projection booth. He also blesses 
	the new projectionist: SALVATORE. He is very nervous, but serious, self-
	possessed. His worried-looking mother is also there for the occasion. The PRIEST 
	turns to SPACCAFICO. 
		How'd you solve his being under age? 
		I took out a license as 
		projectionist, thanks to friends down 
		at the guild offices. But I don't 
		know a thing about it. Officially, I 
		do the job...
			(Smiling at Salvatore)
		...but Toto earns the money. 
		Always be careful, my boy. Don't ever 
		go to sleep. Be sure another accident 
		doesn't happen. Do everything poor 
		Alfredo taught you. And may God bless 
	SALVATORE nods his head seriously, assuming a responsible expression. His 
	mother kisses the PRIEST's hand.
		Thanks, Father. Thanks. 
		And now enough of this gloomy 
		atmosphere. Life goes on! I want to 
		see you happy and smiling!
	Laughter. The laughter of the large audience at the first showing of the
	inauguration film. Among the spectators, SALVATORE'S mother, MARIA, and his kid 
	sister, El A. Up on the screen, a man and a woman kiss. The first time a kiss 
	has been seen at the Cinema Paradiso. The audience murmurs, surprised and 
		Ooooooh! They're kissing!! Look at 
		that!! Christ, that's news!!
	An OLD LADY sitting next to the MAYOR, crosses herself, flabbergasted. CICCIO 
	SPACCAFICO chuckles. Rubs his hands: these are going to be golden times for him. 
	FATHER ADELFIO gets up and stalks out of the theatre, indignant; he'll
	never set foot in the place again. The love theme gets louder and
	The same music spreads through the booth from the monitor. SALVATORE is by 
	himself. He is watching the film through the hole but strangely enough, the 
	story doesn't absorb him. ALFREDO'S absence makes him nervous, he gazes at the 
	stool he used to sit on. Il has been repainted. A voice from the rear of the 
	SALVATORE turns and at the top of the stairs sees SIGNORA
	ANNA and behind her, ALFREDO, her husband. He is wearing a
	pair of dark glasses and walks with the kelp of a cane. He has
	lost his sight, but not his spirit. He smiles:
		Any room for me in this Cinema 
			(SALVATORE runs over and 
			embraces him.)
		Come in, Alfredo.
			(to SALVATORE) 
		Toto, will you bring him home when 
		you close down?
		Yes. Signora Anna. 
			(To ALFREDO) 
		I'm glad you came.
						Cut to:
	ALFREDO is now sitting there immobile. He listens to the soundtrack of the film. 
	SALVATORE studies the way he stares into empty space, and the idea of darkness 
	frightens him. There is something new in ALFREDO'S manner, as if having grazed 
	death and the loss of his sight had endowed him with a deeper knowledge of men 
	and life.
		How's school?
		OK. OK. But now that I've got a job, 
		I'11 probably stop going...
		Don't do that...Sooner or later 
		you'll be left empty-handed.
		Why? What do you mean?
		Toto, this isn't for you. For the 
		moment, the Cinema Paradiso needs 
		you, and you need the Cinema 
		Paradiso. But it won't last...Some 
		day you'll have other things 
		to do, more important things...
			(He reaches out and 
			touches SALVATORE'S face 
			to 'feel' his expression.)
		That's right, more important. I know 
		it. Now that I've lost my sight I see 
		I see everything I didn't see 
			(As ALFREDO moves his hand 
			from SALVATORE's face, we 
			see that he is now a young 
			man, and that ALFREDO is 
			older, grayer.) 
		And it's all thanks to you, who saved 
		my life. And I'll never forget it...
			(SALVATORE doesn't 
			understand his strange 
			words. ALFREDO can 'feel' 
			he is troubled.)
		And don't put on that look. I haven't 
		gone off my head yet. You want proof?
	And he gives a joking smile. SALVATORE is curious, expects one of his fiendish 
		Yes. I want proof.
		For example, at this moment the 
		film's out of focus. Go see. 
	SALVATORE stands up in disbelief. He looks through the hole, and indeed the film 
	is out of focus. He puts it back into focus, flabbergasted.
		It's hard to explain, Toto...
	As the BILL-POSTER attaches to the café door a poster of Catene - the
	coming attraction at the Cinema Paradiso - CICCIO SPACCAFICO is
	speaking on the phone in the phone booth. He is clearly peeved.
		Only two days? Are you joking?!...
		What do I care if all the copies 
		are reserved?...Catene for only two 
		days in a place like this! Why, 
		people will eat me alive!...
			(Standing beside him 
			listening is SALVATORE. He 
			is carrying school 
			books under his ann. In 
			the café, several curious 
			ONLOOKERS laugh as through 
			the café window they watch 
			some unemployed PEASANT 
			MEN dancing together at 
			the club. SPACCAFICO 
			listens nervously, then 
			shrieks as if he were 
			about to eat the phone.)
		...I know, I know. But even if I 
		start showing at eight in the morning 
		it wouldn't be enough! This is a big 
		town now and you people at the 
		Titanus know it perfectly well! I'm 
		your sole agent and if I get pissed 
		off I'll write straight 
		to Lombardo, in Rome!! I'll give you 
		guys a good run-around!! If I get my 
		dander up, I can let fly, if my 
		name's Spaccafico!! 
						Cut to:  
	SPACCAFICO AND SALVATORE are now outside the café, head towards the square. In 
	front of the movie house, the CHARWOMAN is at work. SPACCAFICO is so nervous he 
	lights two cigarettes without noticing it. SALVATORE is turning something over 
	in his mind.
		Don Ciccio, I've got an idea...You 
		remember that old abandoned movie 
		house where they're supposed to build 
		those low-rent houses?
		So what's that got to do with it?
		The projector's all rusty, but I 
		could fix it in two or three days. 
		Give the place a good cleaning, put 
		in some seats and bring in a 
		projectionist and we'll show Catene 
		in two houses.
		What the fuck you talking about? You 
		getting into the act too, Toto? 
		Titanus has trouble giving me even 
		one copy and I have to say thanks! If 
		I ask for two, the least they'll do 
		is cut off my head and play ball with 
	A shrewd look glitters in SALVATORE s eyes. He smiles.
		Who says we need two copies?
	The house is jammed with people. Almost bursting at the seams. The last scenes 
	of Catene move across the screen. Tears stream down the faces of the men and 
	women. The children are unusually silent. Even the BLACKSMITH is awake, indeed 
	whispers ahead of time all the lines of Nazzari and Yvonne Sanson, knows them by 
	heart. Among the crowd in the balcony there is ALFREDO and his wife, the MAYOR, 
	DON VINCENZO the landowner, the schoolteachers. Now the music is loud, heart-
	rending. 'THE END' appears on screen. The lights go on. And there is a great 
	din and uproar as one audience leaves and another arrives. The race for empty 
	seats. Quarrels. The CARABINIERES help the USHER maintain order and persuade the 
	people who want to see the film again to get up and leave. 
		That's enough now! You've seen it ten 
		times! I need the seats! I wish you'd 
		all get the galloping runs! 
		Easy! Easy! Through the emergency 
		exits, quick! Stop the jabbering!!
	The end of the film slips through the sprockets. SALVATORE switches off the 
	motor. He is particularly fast in taking the reel out of the housing. And even 
	faster in dropping it into the sack BOCCIA is holding open for him. 
		Now get running and bring me the 
		first reel. Meanwhile I'll start 
		showing the news! 
		OK, Toto!
	BOCCIA speeds like an arrow on his bicycle through the village streets. Tied to 
	the parcel-rack is the sack containing the second part of Catene. He now turns 
	off the main street and takes a short-cut down a country road. He pedals as fast 
	as he can. Until he disappears into the distance, beyond the trees.
	BOCCIA finally reaches the old movie house, which has been more or less spruced 
	up. Here too people are lined up in front of the posters of Catene. CICCIO 
	SPACCAFICO is waiting impatiently on an outside staircase. He too is holding a 
	sack, containing the first part of the film. The bicycle pulls up in front of 
	him. The sacks are exchanged. 
		Quick! Give it to me! Here's the 
		first part. Get moving! 
	BOCCIA heads back to the Cinema Paradiso, to take the first part to SALVATORE. 
	SPACCAFICO dashes up the stairs, and hands the sack to a MAN standing in the 
	door, through which the bare projection booth can be seen, and the projector 
	which SALVATORE has put back into working order. SPACCAFICO yells in excitement. 
		Here you are! Quick, quick!! People 
		are waiting!
	In fact, inside the old freezing cold movie house, the audience is grumbling. 
	Everyone is wrapped in overcoats and woollen scarves and are sitting on chairs 
	they've brought from home and wooden benches. The hum of the projector is heard 
	at last. The lights go down. The grumbling subsides. The words 'PART TWO' appear 
	on screen and then the images of the film.
	Meanwhile BOCCIA pedals his way swiftly through the countryside on his way to 
	the Cinema Paradiso...
	Now BOCCIA is on his way back to the old movie house. To carry out another 
	exchange of sacks containing the reels of film.
	Another race back to Cinema Paradiso. BOCCIA starts looking tired, his breath is 
	short. And daylight starts fading into the colours of sundown.
	The last fading light of sundown.-BOCCIA is pedalling once more back
	to the old movie house. With the same sack tied to the parcel-rack. He
	is exhausted. On his last legs. He slows down, then stops.
	The lights are still on. In the thick blanket of smoke, the crowd stirs
	nervously. Shouting. Whistling.
		Hey, when's it starting!! We've got 
		ploughing to do in the morning!! 
		Toto, get a move on!! Heeey!!
	In the booth, the projector is turned off. SALVATORE looks nervously
	out of the the square. But not a sign of BOCCIA. A CARABINIERE 
	peers in through one of the holes.
		What are we going to do, Toto? The 
		whole place here is up in arms. 
		They've been waiting more than a half 
		What can I do?
	Here too the audience is up in arms. They're waiting for Part Two tostart. 
	CICCIO SPACCAFICO tears his hair with rage.
		Where's the fucking bastard got to?
		Let's get one thing straight, Don 
		Ciccio! I'm waiting ten minutes 
		more, and if you haven't started...
		you're giving me my money back!!
			(In chorus) 
		Well said! Well said! We want our 
		money back!!
		Easy! Easy! What about my showing you 
		the first part again? Huh? 
	People shout, whistle, give Bronx cheers.
		No! First part, my foot! We want to 
		see how the story ends!! 
	Down in the front row, PASQUALE, the man who sells black market cigarettes, 
	stands up.
		I've seen the whole works! You want 
		me to tell you how it ends? 
	A shoe comes flying at him.
		Nooo! No! Shut up, you jerk!!
	SALVATORE has got himself a bicycle and is going off to look for
	BOCCIA. He pedals fast, turns into the country short cut. Looks
	around  not a sign of Boccia. By now it is dark. He sees a MAN in the window of 
	a farmhouse, calls out to him. 
		Boccia! Boccia! 
	SALVATORE rides on. Now he's in the open country. All of a sudden he seems to 
	hear something. He stops. Pricks up his ears. It's a sort of moan - he can't 
	figure out if it's an animal or a man. He turns on the flashlight he has brought 
	along. Takes a closer look around. 
	Catches sight of a bicycle wheel on the ground behind a bush. That's where the 
	moan is coming from! He creeps over in alarm. Next to the bicycle he now catches 
	sight of the sack with the film. And the moaning gets louder. 
		Boccia, what's wrong? 
			(He runs over to help his 
			friend. Behind the bush he 
			discovers BOCCIA humped up 
			between the legs of 
			TERESA, a prostitute. He 
			moves with all the fury 
			of his young years. 
			SALVATORE has never seen 
			people making love before 
			and is speechless.)
		Damn you, what are you doing? 
		Oh, Christ, it's so good!!! 
			(And he goes on ramming it 
		Hey, cut it out! Go away. Shoo! 
	With a confused look on his face, SALVATORE picks up the sack and walks away, 
	looking over his shoulder at the couple who go on tossing around more and more 
	BOCCIA lets out a shriek of pleasure that rings through the countryside, as 
	SALVATORE pedals off like a madman and disappears into the trees. 
	Music and the naked body of Brigitte Bardot. A row of youngsters on the main 
	floor stare at the naked actress, all excited. A regular rhythmic tremor runs 
	through them, half-hidden by the back of the seats.
	A scene from a horror film. The frightened faces of the audience. Off in one 
	corner, the door of the men's toilet opens and a MAN with a contented look comes 
	out, followed by TERESA, who motions another one to come in. In the projection 
	booth, SALVATORE is eating the meal his mother has brought him.
	A gangster film. The tense faces of the audience. A gun battle. Rounds of 
	machine-gunfire in the night. The shots echo through the theatre. A LITTLE BOY 
	claps his hands over his ears. Alternating with the machine-gunfire on screen, a 
	real pistol shoots the back of one of the spectators, the landowner DON 
	VINCENZO, who slumps down in his seat without anybody noticing...The shooting 
	continues up on screen...
	SALVATORE'S hand holds a lighted match under a piece of film, before the 
	horrified eyes of SPACCAFICO and the USHER, and the puzzled expression of 
		What'd I tell you? It doesn't catch 
		Progress! It always arrives too late!
	A scene from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The only empty seat
	in the theatre is the one where DON VINCENZO was killed. A flower
	has been tied to it with string. All the other seats are taken.
						Fade to:
	ROSA and ANGELO are sitting next to each other. They are watching a
	different film. But she has a baby in her arms  they have got married,
	have set up a family.
	In the balcony, the MAN with the face of a public notary spits down
	below with a contented look. But this time the main floor takes its
	revenge and a blob of shit hits him square in the face.
	In the morning the theatre is empty. All the doors are shut. Light filters in 
	through the open windows up above, illuminates the posters of coming attractions 
	and the yellowish screen. Off-screen, a woman's voice 
	and a boy's voice are heard. 
		Come on...That's right...relax...
		...Don't be scared...
		Is it true that if I bleed I've got 
		to squeeze lemon juice on it? 
				TERESA'S VOICE  (Off-screen) 
			(A loud laugh) 
		Lemon juice?...That's a new one for 
		you! Who tells you this crap...Take 
		it easy...That's right...You see, 
		it's not painful, is it?
	Slow pan along the walls of the theatre, the empty aisles,
	discovers SALVATORE on the floor between the seats with
	TERESA, the prostitute who has already been seen. SALVATORE is
	making love for the first time in his life. He is awkward and
	clumsy. There is an uncertain look in his eyes, his livid face is
	dripping with sweat.
		...There you are! That's right, 
		that's right! Keep going...
			(SALVATORE is quicker, has 
			learned the lesson. TERESA 
			goads him on.)
		Ah!!! There, now you're a real man! A 
		man! ? A real calf!
			(SALVATORE's panting 
			slackens into a deep sigh 
			of pleasure.)
	The blade of a knife, clutched in a hardened hand. A blow. A cry of pain. A calf 
	falls like a dead weight to the ground...SALVATORE photographs the animal in 
	the throes of death with his 8mm movie camera. As well as the faces of the MEN 
	who now bleed and skin it quickly. In the vast slaughter-house, the voices of 
	the men and animals mingle together.
	SALVATORE'S eye is quick to catch the most unexpected expressions of ordinary 
	people. His movie camera is always ready, like a hunter's rifle. Now he is 
	A meeting in the square: the passionate reactions of the peasants listening to a 
	speaker who flails his arms around.
	At school: the old SCHOOLMISTRESS sitting at her desk, sunk in God knows what 
	dreams, her eyes staring off into empty space, as a tear runs down her pale, 
	unhappy face, and the unknowing STUDENTS carry out their assignments.
	At the railroad station: the nervous excitement of the people waiting on the 
	platforms. SALVATORE pans his camera on to TWO MEN fighting. But an arriving 
	train comes in between. Salvatore follows the train, pans along the cars. The 
	train stops. 
	-A door opens and the passengers climb out. Several TRADERS, a CARABINTERE, a 
	group of commuting STUDENTS, the TICKET-COLLECTOR, a distinguished looking 
	COUPLE and lastly, a GIRL who stops in the middle of the viewfinder. SALVATORE 
	is immediately attracted by her face. He goes on shooting without leaving it a 
	moment. He follows her through the lens. She is very beautiful, must be around 
	sixteen, a simple, sweet face, blue eyes. She is certainly the daughter of the 
	distinguished looking COUPLE who got off just before she did. The little family 
	moves off down the platform. Salvatore follows the girl's movements, as if 
	hypnotized. Now she passes by him, turns towards him for one moment, as if 
	trying to figure out where he is aiming that funny-looking gadget. SALVATORE 
	smiles at her, entranced.
	The JANITOR is ringing the bell. In the courtyard, on the other side of
	the gate, the STUDENTS prepare to enter. SALVATORE is with a group
	of schoolmates, including BOCCIA. And they all stare, wide-eyed, at
	the GIRL from the station. She has her books under her arm and is
	walking by herself.
		You know that one there?
		She's new. Not bad though. Nice-
			(SALVATORE has the look of 
			somebody seeking for an 
			idea, some way of picking 
			up a conversation with 
		Her father s the new bank director. 
		Loaded, luxury and easy living!
		People who jerk off with a shirt so 
		they won't get their hands dirty. 
	All at once, BOCCIA and SALVATORE notice that the GIRL drops
	her lunch without noticing as she is about to enter the school. They
	fly off, swift as arrows. It's a chance not to be missed. BOCCIA is
	the quicker, is already in the lead. SALVATORE gives an angry
	gesture. A flash come into his eyes, the same flash he had as a little
	boy when he finds the right way to hit home. He picks up his step,
	trips BOCCIA and brings him to the ground. He pounces on him
	and lets go with his fist. He starts running again. Picks the
	bundle off the ground. Catches up with the GIRL from the
	station, nervous and inexperienced, but polite.
		Look, you dropped this.
	And he hands her her lunch with a smile. She recognizes him.
		Oh, thanks. I hadn't noticed...
	She takes the bundle as SALVATORE touches her hand delicately.
		My name's Salvatore...And yours?
		Elena. My name's Elena.
	SALVATORE is very flustered. He feels as if all his blood were
	throbbing in his head. He tries to say something else, but the words
	catch in his throat.
		I...I...The other time at the 
	BOCCIA suddenly grabs him by the collar and yanks him away. ELENA is frightened, 
	puts her hand over her eyes so as not to see.
	SALVATORE has a black eye, swollen shut. He is setting up a little 8mm projector 
	on a stool. ALFREDO is sitting in one corner. He has come to keep him company. 
	He listens to the sound-track of the movie being shown. 
		Chaplin's Modern Times! Right, Toto? 
		That's right, Modern Times. 
		I've shown it so many times I know it 
		by heart. The first time I showed 
		it, in 1940, was the Sunday my first 
		wife died. They kept it hidden from 
		me all day so they wouldn't have to 
		close down the movie house. I only 
		found out that night, after the last 
		show. Those are things you never 
			(Changing his tone.) 
		So, Toto, how are these home movies 
			(SALVATORE has switched on 
			the little projector and a 
			square of light appears on 
			the wall beside ALFREDO, 
			with the scenes shot in 
			(The shots of the 
			slaughter-house have 
		What is it, what is it? What's the 
		It's people in the slaughter-house 
		killing a calf. There's blood all 
		over the floor, like a lake. And 
		through this lake another calf passes 
		by on its way to die. 
	ALFREDO is concentrated, as if SALVATORE'S description transmitted the 
	real image to him, the colours, the forms. The railway station has appeared on 
	the wall, and the sequence of ELENA. SALVATORE does not move, does not say a 
	word, as he gazes at those blue eyes looking into the camera. ALFREDO senses 
	something funny in the boy's s11ence.
		Now what can you see?
		Nothing, there's nothing. It's all 
		out of focus.
		Is there a woman?...Tell me the 
			(SALVATORE is shamed, 
			uncertain, doesn't know 
			whet to say. A tender look 
			filters through ALFREDO's 
			dark glasses. He has 
			obviously caught on and 
		There is a woman.
	SALVATORE is forced to admit it, with a sigh.
		Yes, it's a girl I saw at the 
		What's she like? What's she like?...
	And as other shots of ELENA appear on the screen, SALVATORE describes her. As 
	only somebody in love could.
		She's nice. My age...Slender, with 
		long hair, brunette. She had big blue 
		eyes, a simple expression and a 
		little beauty mark on her lip, but 
		really tiny. You can only see it 
		close-up. And when she smiles...She 
		makes you feel...
	He stops. Only now does he realize that he has let himself be carried away by 
	passion, by the desire to talk about her. ALFREDO smiles, spellbound...
		Eh! Love...what a mystery!
			(SALVATORE turns off the 
			projector and heaves a 
			deep sigh, almost of 
			liberation. ALFREDO'S 
			sympathy does him a lot of 
			good. It's nice to be 
			understood. He moves over 
			closer to him. ALFREDO 
			runs his hand through his 
			hair, whispers:)
		I understand you, Toto...The ones 
		with blue eyes are the
		most beautiful. Whatever you do, you 
		can't make friends with
			(SALVATORE is comforted by 
			the way he talks. He 
			didn't think it
			was possible to put into 
			words the things he has 
			felt since meeting
			ELENA. He nods his head. 
			ALFREDO sighs.)
		Eh, there's nothing to be done about 
		it! The heavier a man is,
		the deeper his footprints. And if 
		he's in love, he suffers,
		because he knows he's up a one-way 
		street. Because love is a
		meaningless thing when a man gets it 
		into his head to do what
		he wants...
			(SALVATORE is touched by 
			his sensitivity, by his 
			intense, passionate, sweet 
			way of speaking.)
		What you say is wonderful! But sad...
		They're not my words. John Wayne said 
		it in Shepherd of the Hills.
	SALVATORE suddenly changes expression, as if discovering he was being made fun 
		Stinking two-timer!! 
			(And they burst out 
	A grey, windy day. It is opening-time and the shutters of the movie
	house are being rolled up. SALVATORE is about to enter through the
	small door of the spiral staircase, when in the distance he catches sight
	ELENA crossing a street with her books under her arm. She is alone.
	SALVATORE doesn't stop to think twice, dashes off, runs through streets
	full of dust, another square, turns the corner, but has lost sight of her.
	He looks around in all directions  there she is! He starts running again.
	And finally catches up with her, all out of breath, practically
	speechless with emotion.
		Hi, Elena!
		Hi. Why are you running?
		No particular reason...
			(He is entranced by her 
			eyes. He wants to tell her 
			all sorts of
			things, say all the words 
			he has memorized a 
			thousand times. But
			now he can't get them out. 
			His knees tremble. He does 
			his best to
			overcome his confusion, 
			but all that comes out 
		Nice day, huh?
			(A gust of wind envelops 
			them in a cloud of dust 
			and a clap of
			thunder rends the air. 
			ELENA laughs, amused by 
			the blunder.)
		Yes, nice day.
			(SALVATORE laughs too. He 
			gazes at her long hair 
			tossed by the wind. She 
			turns to leave.)
		...I've got to go now. Bye-bye.
		Bye-bye, Elena.
			(ELENA walks away. And 
			SALVATORE also turns to 
			leave. Only now is he 
			seized by disappointment,  
			regret at not having made
			the best of the 
			opportunity. He talks to 
		...What an idiot! What an idiot! 
		'Nice day'! Christ!!
	SALVATORE projects images of ELENA on his wall. He lies across his bed gazing at 
	her image.
		You probably don't believe me, but 
		I'm going to become the leading man 
		in your life. Sure, I don't look like 
		Marlon Brando, but look at me, really 
		look at me. Am I really so ugly? So 
		should I try once more? Maybe It'll 
		succeed. What do you 
	ELENA seems to be saying, Yes. As SALVATORE kisses ELENA, her image disappears. 
	He is left with his face against the wall in the white light from the 
	SALVATORE is in a phone booth. The telephone will certainly help him feel less 
		Hello, can I speak to Elena, please?
			(SALVATORE recognizes 
			ELENA's voice, changes his 
			tone, turns sweeter, more 
		Is that you, Elena?
		Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't recognize 
		your voice. This is Salvatore, 
	SALVATORE finally speaks, says everything all in one breath, without stopping, 
	without hesitating, in order to leave no room for shyness.
		Listen, I know that every time we see 
		each other I make a fool of myself, 
		but I'm not like that, I swear. It's 
		just that when I see you, I feel shy, 
		the right words don't come to me, I 
		don't have the courage to say that 
		all I do is think about you...
			(He has finally got it 
			out. He's dripping with 
			sweat, but happy at having 
			succeeded. He continues.) 
		That's right, Elena, you're the last 
		thing I think of when I go to sleep 
		and the first when I wake up in the 
		morning. And at night I always dream 
		of you. I know, it's not good on the 
		phone. But please, don't get me 
		wrong. Because I love you very 
			(Interrupting him) 
		If you don't stop phoning her, I'm 
		calling the police!
		But excuse me, who's speaking?
	At ELENA'S house, a WOMAN who is visibly in a state is speaking on the phone.
		I'm Elena's mother, you filthy pig! 
	SALVATORE feels like dropping through the floor, tries to get a word in to 
	explain, to apologize, but the flood of insults overwhelms him.
		I'm sorry, Signora, maybe there's a 
		And don't call my daughter any more. 
	SALVATORE has no choice but to hang up, disappointed, defeated. He's so mad he 
	starts slapping himself.
	Good Friday. ALFREDO comes out of his house, leaning on
	SALVATORE's shoulder. They go off down the street, towards the
	church. SALVATORE has finished recounting his misadventure.
		I told you, the blue-eyed ones are 
		the most difficult.
		But why? There must be some way to 
		make her understand!
		Don't think about it, Toto. Don't 
		even try. With feelings, there's 
		nothing to understand. 
	SALVATORE gives an angry gesture. This time ALFREDO'S words do not quiet his 
	frenzy, don't help him. He moves away from him a few steps.
	ALFREDO stands there motionless in the middle of the road.
		Stop it! I've had enough of your 
		sermons! You act as if you created 
		the world! 
			(A bicycle streaks by 
			ALFREDO, who gives a 
			startled jump, as if it 
			were about to 
			run into him. He raises 
			his voice, panic-
		Heeey! Totooooo! Don't get pissed off 
		with me now! Come here! I don't 
		know where the fuck I have to go. 
			(A MAN on a bicycle almost 
			collides with ALFREDO. 
			SALVATORE fumes, goes over 
			to him listlessly. ALFREDO 
			puts his hand back on his 
			shoulder and they start 
			walking again. ALFREDO has 
			calmed down, but his voice 
			is determined.) 
		And the next time be careful how you 
		talk. Not to take credit away 
		from the Lord, but if I had created 
		the world, in all modesty, certain 
		things would have come out better. 
		But unfortunately such was not the 
		You see, it s like I say. You always 
		have an answer for everything.
		I want to make you happy, Toto! I'm 
		going to tell you a story. 
			(And he squeezes 
			SALVATORE'S shoulder. It's 
			the signal for taking a 
			rest. They sit in a 
			doorway. ALFREDO starts 
			telling his story, and his 
			way of speaking is 
			hypnotic, magical. With 
			those eyes lost in empty 
			space, it's as if his 
			thoughts and his words 
			came in from some other 
			dimension, mysterious, 
		Once upon a time a king gave a feast 
		and there were all the most beautiful 
		princesses of the realm. Basta, one 
		of the guards, saw the king's 
		daughter: she was the loveliest of 
		all! And he immediately fell in love 
		with her. But what could a poor 
		soldier do compared with a king's 
		daughter?!...One day he managed 
		to meet her and told her he couldn't 
		live without her. The princess was so 
		struck by the depth of his feeling 
		that she said to the soldier  'If you 
		will wait a hundred days and a 
		hundred nights beneath my balcony, 
		then in the end I'll be yours.' 
		Christ, the soldier ran off there and 
		waited! One day, two days, 
		ten, twenty...Every night she looked 
		out of her window, but he never 
		budged. Come rain, wind, snow, never 
		budged! The birds shat on him and the 
		bees ate him alive! After ninety 
		nights he was gaunt and pale and 
		tears streamed from his eyes but he 
		couldn't hold them back. He didn't 
		even have the strength to sleep any 
		more. The princess kept watch...And 
		on the ninety-ninth night, the 
		soldier got up, picked up his chair 
		and left!
		No! You mean right at the end? 
			(SALVATORE is amazed, 
			dumbfounded; that ending 
			has made a deep 
			impression. They 
			start walking again.)
		That's right, Toto, right at the end? 
		And don't ask me what it means. If 
		you figure it out, let me know...
		I'll be damned'
	Before the high altar, the Virgin Mary in tears clutches three spikes inher 
	hand. And beside her is another statue  Christ descended from the
	cross. MEN and WOMEN stand in line to kiss Christ's wounds. Many people are 
	sitting between the pews. SALVATORE helps ALFREDO take a seat, and at that 
	moment catches sight at the far end of ELENA on her way to the confessional. 
	She kneels down on one side, just as FATHER ADELFIO comes out of the middle 
	booth and goes to the altar to say something to the sacristan. SALVATORE'S eyes 
	light up. He has had a brainstorm. 
	He leans over and whispers something into ALFREDO's ear. ALFREDO nods his head. 
	SALVATORE is so happy that he gives him a pat on the cheek, like a caress. Then 
	he hurries over to the PRIEST. Says something in a low voice, gesticulates with 
	some agitation, points to the pew where ALFREDO is sitting. The PRIEST tries to 
	say he can't now, but SALVATORE insists, and wins. The PRIEST goes over to 
	ALFREDO, leans over. 
		What is it, Alfredo? Right now, of 
		all times! 
			(In a grave voice) 
		Father Adelfio, I have a very serious 
		doubt that is torturing my soul. And 
		you've got to help me, because I've 
		lost all peace of mind...
	SALVATORE watches from a distance. He sees the PRIEST put on an alarmed 
	expression and then sit down beside ALFREDO. Everything's ready. He creeps over 
	to the confessional. ELENA is there, kneeling down waiting for the PRIEST to 
	arrive. In an instant, without anyone noticing, SALVATORE pops inside the 
	confessional. He shuts the little door below and draws the purple curtain. On 
	the other side of grille, only a few inches away, those eyes that keep him awake 
	all night. 
		Father, I have sinned...
			(In a low voice) 
		We'll talk about that later. 
			(Interrupting her) 
		Sssssh, Be quiet, pretend 
		everything's normal. I'm Salvatore. 
	ELENA'S eyes pop in amazement.
		What are you doing here?
	Meanwhile ALFREDO and the PRIEST continue their unusual and animated discussion. 
	The PRIEST is appalled, crosses himself. 
		But Alfredo, what you're saying is 
		I know. But take the-miracle of the 
		loaves and fishes, for example! I 
		think about it a lot...How is it 
		possible for...
	In the confessional, the whispered conversation between SALVATORE and ELENA 
		There was a terrible rumpus at home. 
		My mother told my father. And how 
		could you have mistaken my voice?!
	SALVATORE is mortified, on tenterhooks, keeps an eye on ALFREDO and the PRIEST 
	through a crack in the curtain.
		Forgive me, Elena. It was stupid of 
		me. But I had to talk to you. 
	She looks up at him and her eyes are even more beautiful in the candlelight. 
	This time SALVATORE finds the courage to speak to her calmly, with 
	determination. That grille probably helps him, allows him to see without being 
		You're so beautiful, Elena...That's 
		what I wanted to tell you. When I 
		meet you, I can't put two words 
		together give me the 
		shivers. I don't know what you do in 
		these situations, what you're 
		supposed to say. It's the first time. 
		But I think I'm in love with you. 
	ELENA gazes through the grille at the two shining specks of his eyes. She is 
	bewildered by that flood of passion. At that moment, an OLD WOMAN kneels down on 
	the other side of the confessional and her face appears behind the grille.
		Father, I have sinned...
			(SALVATORE turns lo her, 
		I absolve you in the name of the 
		Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. 
		Go in peace, my daughter. 
			(And he slams the panel 
			shut in her face. ELENA is 
			barely able to control her 
		When you laugh, you're even more 
	She pulls herself together again and puts on a serious, but tender look.
		Salvatore, it's awfully sweet of you. 
		And even though I don't know you, I 
		like you. But...I'm not in love with 
	For SALVATORE, it's as if a knife had plunged straight into his heart. He sits 
	there gazing into her eyes, at the beauty mark on her lip, without moving. Then 
	through the crack sees ALFREDO and the PRIEST conversing nervously, God knows 
	what they're saying. And he turns back to her.
		I don't care. I'll wait.
		For what?
		For you to fall in love with me too. 
		Listen carefully. Every night, when I 
		get off work, I'll come and wait 
		beneath your window. Every night. 
		When you change your mind, open your 
		window. That's all. I'll 
	He smiles at her. She is upset by those exaggerated words, but also intrigued.
	The PRIEST has meanwhile solved the problem that ALFREDO has made up as an 
		You understand now? You see it 
		Oh yes, father. Now everything's 
		And the next time don't go around 
		saying such heresy. You survived the 
		fire at the movie house. But no one 
		can save you from the fire of Hell!
	Sweet poignant music accompanies SALVATORE's long waits beneath the window of 
	ELENA'S room... A warm early summer night. The last spectators wander off into 
	the streets. The VILLAGE IDIOT makes his rounds of the square.
	SALVATORE is beneath her window. He waits. The shutters are open,
	but not the windows with the curtains. ELENA peers at him through a
	dark crack...
						Fade to:
	A rainy night. SALVATORE is back there again. Determined,
	headstrong. A dog keeps him company, taking shelter under an
	overhanging roof. The window is shut...
						Fade to:
	SALVATORE'S hand adds another check to an endless row of checks on
	the calendar. A check a day...
						Fade to:
	Another night. Wind. The window is still shut. SALVATORE's eyes are
	the eyes of a lovesick man prepared to face the hardest battles, just to
	win, just to conquer his loved one. She peeks at him through the crack,
	but he can't see her...
						Fade to:
	The paces of the calendar are covered with checks. Several months
	have gone by. SALVATORE adds a check on the last page, on 30 December. Tomorrow 
	night will be...New Year's Eve. The streets are empty. Loud merry voices can be 
	heard coming from the houses. Old discarded objects hail down from balconies. 
	Firecrackers explode here and there. SALVATORE is there in the same old place, 
	as usual. The shutters are open, but not the windows, and all is darkness 
	inside. SALVATORE is wrapped in a large overcoat and stamps his feet to keep 
	Toasts are being prepared in SALVATORE's house. MARIA is there
	with her daughter, LIA, then ALFREDO with his wife, ANNA.
	SALVATORE is the only one missing for the "family" to be complete.
	The bottle of spumante and the Christmas cake are ready. The radio is
	on with the New Year's Eve programme.
		But why hasn't Toto shown up? The 
		movie house is closed at this hour!
	ALFREDO has a know-all look. He tries to put her mind at rest.
		He had to do something for me...
	Over the radio, music and merrymaking
	More sounds of merrymaking, coming from ELENA's house. SALVATORE listens to it, 
	sees the shadows of her parents and relatives, maybe even hers, ready to 
	celebrate, welcome in the New Year. But further on, that window remains dark and 
	shut. SALVATORE gazes at it again. 
	There is a new look in his eyes, like a gleam of hope. Maybe it's the 
	specialness of that night, maybe it's the fire crackers, the festive atmosphere, 
	but something tells him that's going to be the right night. The night when 
	she'll open her window. In fact, a light suddenly goes on in the room. 
	SALVATORE'S eyes sparkle, have already taken on the hue of victory. 
	The window is pulled open, and his heart starts pounding like a drum. The music 
	reaches its climax. Two hands come out. SALVATORE shuts his eyes for a moment, 
	to hold back the flood of feeling. He opens them again and sees......The hands 
	reach out and take hold of the shutters and pull them shut. The light goes out. 
	It is midnight. An echoing voice does the countdown.
		Six, five, four, three, two, one, 
		zero! Happy New Year! Happy New Year! 
	And a roar of voices, shouts, explosions, fills the air. SALVATORE has remained 
	standing there immobile, speechless. Disappointed. Defeated.
	At his house, glasses are about to be raised. There is a strange, tense 
	merriment. MARIA is unable to conceal her concern, her presentiment. She glances 
	at the door, hoping to see SALVATORE appear.
			(To Maria) 
		There's nothing to worry about. He's 
		probably with his friends. 
			(To all) 
		Let's toast!
		Here's to you! Here's to you! Happy 
		New Year!
		For Toto too, here's to you!! Happy 
		New Year! !
	Everybody echoes MARIA'S toast...
	But SALVATORE is not happy in these first few minutes of the New Year. He feels 
	hurt, humiliated, rejected. He walks off amidst the old discarded objects flying 
	down from the terraces. That was his last night. He's not showing up beneath 
	that balcony any more.
	Outside there is a violent thunderstorm. The pounding of the rain and the 
	rumbling of the thunder drown out the sound-track of the film being shown. Two 
	buckets are on the floor to catch the water dripping through the roof. SALVATORE 
	is alone. For the first time he feels he hates the profession he's got into. He 
	is tearing up the calendar where he checked off the nights he spent waiting for 
	ELENA. He tears it into a thousand pieces, as if trying to wipe out the traces 
	of his grief. He is so absorbed in his thoughts that he doesn't notice that 
	someone has appeared at the top of the stairs and quietly entered the room. And 
	now stands there watching him in silence. The thunder is deafening. That someone 
	is ELENA. She comes up behind him, realizes he is thinking 
	about her. Whispers. 
	Loud passionate music is heard on the monitor. SALVATORE turns and sees her as 
	if in a dream. It is a sudden blow to the heart. The look on her face is 
	wonderfully sweet, the look of somebody who knows she is madly loved and 
	who now realizes at last that she is in love too. For SALVATORE it is an 
	overwhelming, almost unbearable moment...A long passionate embrace that is 
	never-ending. They are happy, cling to each other never to leave each other 
	They spin around, end up against the wall where strips of film are hanging, the 
	first-part endings and the trailers. Another intense look, their eyes 
	locked...And it is their first kiss. A kiss at first timid, hesitant, almost 
	clumsy, and then becomes resolute, poignant. Amidst the film strips dangling 
	around and touching their young faces. Meanwhile the film has finished, the 
	projector turns uselessly...Down below the screen is blank, the audience 
	whistles...But SALVATORE hears nothing, neither the whistles nor the useless 
	whirring of the reels in the projector. All he hears is her breathing, an he 
	feels is the warmth of her 
	The happiest, most vivid moments SALVATORE and ELENA spend
	A country outing. They eat a lavish salad using the flat branches of the
	prickly pear for plates.
	A chase through an endless field of wheat.
	In the projection booth. A cake with seventeen lighted candles.
	SALVATORE and ELENA blow them out together. And then a kiss.
	SALVATORE is driving an old beaten-up Balilla he bought from a
	car-wrecker. ELENA sits beside him, having the time of her life. They
	roar with laughter. The car jolts, moves by fits and starts, jarred by the
	holes in the road, and besides SALVATORE is not such a hot driver. She
	fondles him.
		You have a great future as a driver. 
		If they don't arrest you first!!
		That's nothing to do with it, it's 
		the car that's still being run in...
	He has barely finished the last sentence when the car gives a
	sudden violent shudder. A sharp report. A cloud of white smoke issues from the 
	motor. And the Balilla stops dead in its tracks. ELENA and SALVATORE cannot 
	smother their wild laughter. They embrace. 
		SO now how do we get home? 
						Cut to:  
	The two of them are standing beside the empty road, looking bored, as they have 
	already been waiting a long time for someone to go by, a car, a wagon. When all 
	at once a car comes around the bend, heading for town. SALVATORE and ELENA flag 
	it down. 
	The DRIVER slows down. The back door opens, a MAN gets out. An alarmed and 
	startled look comes over ELENA's face  that man is her FATHER. She sees him 
	stride over in a rage. 
	He has almost reached SALVATORE, who tries lo be polite, to make the best of the 
		Hello, Dr Mendola...Hem...
	ELENA buries her face in her hands, so as not to see...
	SALVATORE has a bruise on his cheek and two Band-aids on his face.
	He got himself a good thrashing, and then some. The house is jammed,
	as on the great occasions. Curiosity is written all over the faces of the
	audience. But what they're seeing is not a film, but an instalment of
	Double or Nothing. SALVATORE is standing by a teleprojector which
	has been set up in the central aisle of the balcony. It is a machine that
	makes it possible to project television show on the screen. ALFREDO is
	sitting beside him.
			(In a low voice) 
		Toto, are you pulling my leg or 
		something? How is it possible to see 
		this television without film?
		Just so, Alfredo. There isn't any. 
		And if you buy a television set, you 
		can watch it at home, without any 
		Could be...But I don't like this
		business. It smells fishy to me.
	ELENA is sitting in one corner of the balcony with her parents. Sitting beside 
	her FATHER is the owner of the movie house, SPACCAFICO, who thanks him.
			(In a low voice) 
		You see what a bright idea, Dr 
		Mendola? But without the bank loan 
		how could I have bought the machine? 
		If we don't get organized around 
		here, in this day and age, we'll meet 
		the same end as the Punch and Judy 
	ELENA is not very interested in the TV show. She sneaks a look at SALVATORE. 
	From the looks on their faces, it is clear that things are not going very well. 
	He gives her a nod, as if to say he wants to speak to her and that she should 
	figure out some way! ELENA leans over to her MOTHER, whispers something into her 
	ELENA's MOTHER stands waiting in front of the women's toilet,
	gazing at Mike Bongiorno emceeing the TV show in the distance.
	Inside the toilet, ELENA is standing on the toilet seat whispering to
	SALVATORE, who is standing on the 20ilet seat of the men's toilet.
	Their eyes are barely able to peek over the flush tank which they have
	uncovered. ELENA is worried.
		Could it be your father doesn't like 
		the work I do...That my family's too 
		poor...Is that it? 
	She gives a nod of the head, but only faintly, so as no2 to wound his 
	vulnerability. SALVATORE sighs.
		All right! ! 
			(To Salvatore, in a 
		For the moment it's impossible to see 
		each other...As soon as school is 
		out, we're going to go stay with 
		friends in Tuscany. We'll be there 
		all summer...Maybe if you came up, 
		we could meet in secret...
		But we're opening the outdoor movie 
		theatre this summer. What will I do 
		all this time without seeing you?!
		I'll write to you every day. Don't 
		worry. I love you. The summer'll be 
		over and I'll be back...
	They reach out to kiss each other. Who knows when they'll be able to see each 
	other again?
	ELENA climbs down, pulls the chain and walks off, leaving SALVATORE standing 
	there on the toilet seat.
	Summer has come. A bevy of barefoot children chase after the carts carrying the 
	carters' families to the beach to go swimming. SALVATORE, helped by the USHER, 
	has finished loading the disassembled projector on to a wagon in order to carry 
	it to the outdoor movie house. The USHER has hung a sign on the Cinema Paradiso 
	to the effect that 'Showings to continue at the Imperia Arena', and now climbs 
	into the wagon. 
	The horse moves off slowly and the monotonous clatter of its hoofs reminds 
	SALVATORE that the summer is going to be long this year, longer than ever. And 
	he leans on the projector that totters and lurches from the jolting of the 
	wheels. A cart carrying a cheerful and noisy family pulls up alongside the 
	wagon. There are the MEN from the slaughter-house. They recognize SALVATORE. 
		Well, look who's here!! Cecil B. De 
		Mille! Hey, Toto!! When are you 
		coming to shoot another film?!? 
	And they laugh, with their gaping toothless mouths. SALVATORE doesn't feel like 
	joking, not even like answering. He looks away, so as not to see their leers. He 
	wants to be by himself. 
	The beach is almost deserted, dotted here and there with groups of bathers. The 
	carts and horses are scattered in the sand, near the Imperia Arena, where some 
	WORKMEN are putting on the finishing touches for the new opening. The wagon 
	arrives and SALVATORE and the USHER unload the projector.
	A sultry evening. The jacklights of the octopus fishers twinkle on the
	dark horizon. The sound-track of a comic film reverberates over the sea,
	the laughter of the audience mingles with the sound of the shallow waves
	breaking on the rocks. A group of LITTLE BOYS in a boat pulls away
	from shore. They join some more boats standing still in the water, all of
	them crammed with LITTLE BOYS all looking in the same direction...
	towards the screen of the open-air movie at the water's edge. There is a
	funny scene.
		All seats are sold out! Free entrance 
		and payment on the way out!! Sssssh!!
	And they guffaw noisily. Their laughter is echoed by more
	laughter, in the distance...
	...the laughter of the Arena audience, scattered among the
	metal chairs. By dint of laughing, the people in one of the rows
	of chairs tip over backwards. Screams, laughs, whistles.
	The projection booth has a door at the back with stairs leading
	down to the rocks. SALVATORE is sitting on the ground, bare
	chested, tired and sticky with sweat. He is reading a letter from
	ELENA. He is so engrossed the words can almost be read on his
		Salvatore, my darling, here the days 
		never end. I find your name 
		everywhere if I read a book, do a 
		crossword puzzle, thumb through a 
		newspaper...You're always before my 
		eyes. Today I've got some rather bad 
		news. At the end of October we're 
		moving to the city where I'll attend 
		the University. It'll be hard to see 
		each other every day. But don't 
		worry, whenever I can get away I'll 
		always come running to you, to the 
		Cinema Paradiso.
	On the Arena screen, with its potted plants and palm trees, a
	very funny scene is being shown. The audience again bursts into
	wild laughter. And the audience of LITTLE BOYS in the boats also laugh. One
	of them, laughing himself to tears, loses his balance and falls
	into the water. The others howl with laughter. A voice rises up
	out of the carousel of boats.
		Fuck me! I've caught an octopus! An 
	The August sun is blazing hot. People are forced to stay inside when the sirocco 
	blows. The streets are empty. And there is a strange silence. Nothing can be 
	heard except far in the distance, from somewhere in the country, the love song 
	of some carter...SALVATORE hears it too, stretched out on the floor of his 
	room, his eyes fixed on the ceiling where flies buzz around nervously. The 
	MAILMAN comes down the street on his bicycle, rides up to SALVATORE and hands 
	him a letter...Sitting in the shade of a white wall, SALVATORE reads the 
	letter. Next to him, the dog that kept him company at night, beneath ELENA's 
	window. He gazes up at him as if looking for news of her.
	The Arena is crowded with sun-burnt faces. On screen, scenes from
	Ulysses. On a shelf in the projection booth, there is an enormous pack of 
	letters. SALVATORE is worn out. The waiting has destroyed him. He looks
	like a madman. As he winds up one of the parts of the film, he repeats
	her name obsessively, under his breath.
	Now he is sitting outside on the back steps, a few yards from the
	sea. There is a breeze this evening, the waves are rather high and
	the boats of 'gate-crashers' can be seen out in the water, rolling
	fitfully but not dangerously. SALVATORE stretches out, gazes up
	at the inky sky and talks to himself, just like a madman,
		When will this shitty summer be over? 
			(Half shutting his eyes) 
		In a film it'd already be finished...
		...Fade-out and cut to a nice 
		thunderstorm!!! Huh? that'd be 
	A clap of thunder explodes in the air. Loud, rumbling. SALVATORE'S eyes pop 
	open. The Arena audience looks up in alarm at the sky...The 'gate-crashers' in 
	the boats also look up and see a streak of lightning ushering in another clap of 
	thunder. One of those storms is building up that ruins late summer 
	nights. SALVATORE gives a contented smile as the cloudburst pours down 
	violently, suddenly... The Arena audience scatters with a howl and scurries 
	over to the overhanging roofs of the projection booth, to take shelter and to go
	on watching the film despite the rain...
	The LITTLE BOYS in the boats quickly pull tarpaulins over their
	heads...But SALVATORE does not get up. He lets the rain fall on him,
	goes on laughing, incredulous and stunned as if a real miracle had
	taken place. And as he shuts his eyes and lifts his head up, to
	catch more rain on his face, and gives himself up to that marvellous feeling of 
	joy, a mouth comes to rest passionately on his lips it is ELENA. SALVATORE opens 
	his eyes in utter amazement, it seems like a vision, another hallucination 
	created by the rain...Instead no, it is really her! 
		Elena!...But when...
		I got back today. You can't imagine 
		the excuses I had to make up to be 
	SALVATORE's lips interrupt her. It is an intense, a stupendous kiss. They've 
	probably never been so happy as they are at that moment. They cling to each 
	other as the rain goes on streaming over their bodies, mingling her hair with 
	his, binding them ever closer.
	Autumn has arrived. In the streets, the PEASANTS prepare the barrels
	for preserving the grape must. ALFREDO is sitting in front of the Cinema 
	Paradiso with SPACCAFICO and the USHER. It is a quiet moment, they chat, while 
	the humming of the projector and the sound track of the film can be heard 
	through the window of the booth. The MAILMAN stops and hands SPACCAFICO a folded 
	sheet of paper.
		Don Ciccio, this is for Toto. Give it 
			(And he pedals off on his 
		What is it?
	SPACCAFICO unfolds it, reads it, claps his hands on his head, in alarm.
		Holy blood of Judas! Now what am I 
		going to do??!
	ELENA is waiting near the University. She paces nervously back and
	forth. Glances at her watch. He's late. She looks around in all
	directions and sees him at last. He comes running up to her. They
		So what'd they say?
		The army says that, as a war orphan, 
		I don't have to serve in the 
		military, but nothing can be done. 
		It's a bureaucratic error. I have to 
		leave. Day after tomorrow morning. 
		They're sending me to Rome. But 
		they'll discharge me ten days later. 
		Let's go...
	He takes her hand, turns to go to a café. ELENA holds back. She has caught sight 
	of her FATHER's car approaching. ELENA turns to look and in a faint voice 
	reveals the reason for her nervousness.
		No, Salvatore. You'd better go. It's 
		my father.
		Good, this way we can finally talk. 
		I'll convince him this time.
		He won't be convinced, Salvatore. He 
		has other plans for me.
		The son of one of his colleagues. 
		Don't act that way. We'll talk about 
		it later. Wait for me Thursday at the 
		Cinema Paradiso. I'll be coming with 
		the five o'clock bus. 
	SALVATORE looks with longing as ELENA drives away with her father. 
	ELENA gives him a meaningful look through the window. SALVATORE returns the 
	look, but stands there motionless, with a grim expression, like someone who 
	knows how to take the treacherous blows of life. The car drives off and with it 
	ELENA. Their eyes hang on the same thread. The thread of hope and now of fear.
	The poster of Il Grido hangs on the billboard outside the theatre.
	SPACCAFICO replaces 'THURSDAY' with a 'TODAY' sticker. The
	CHARWOMAN is washing the floor of the lobby. SPACCAFICO shouts
	up to SALVATORE, who is in the projectionist's booth. SPACCAFICIO
	says that tomorrow he'll be leaving and today is his last day on the job,
	and he's sorry.
		Toto, this is no film for the common 
		herd. One day'll be more than 
		enough...So tonight, please set up 
		tomorrow's film, so the projectionist 
		who is coming will find it ready.
	SPACCAFICO understands SALVATORE's sadness.
		Cheer up, Toto. I'll be here waiting 
		for you. No one's taking your job 
		away from you. Don't worry!
	The bus has pulled into the square but among the people getting out
	there is no sign of ELENA. SALVATORE stands nervously up in the window of the 
	projection booth, glances at his watch. It's already five-thirty and she hasn't 
	come. He checks the projector. The first part has just begun and the reel is 
	full of film.
	The first part is now about to finish, the reel is almost empty, and ELENA still 
	isn't there. SALVATORE is extremely nervous, worried, mortified by his meeting 
	with her FATHER. 
	He sees ELENA's face pulling away in the car. Thinks back over her 
	terrible confession. He paces back and forth, as if he were in a prison cell, 
	thinking up solutions...The stair light finally goes on; there she is SALVATORE 
	dashes over and down the stairs to meet her. He comes down the final turn of the 
	spiral staircase and finds himself face to face with ALFREDO, who is slowly 
	making his way up with the help of his cane. SALVATORE freezes to the spot. 
	ALFREDO senses his disappointment. 
		You weren't expecting me? 
		No, Alfredo, I was coming to help 
		You were expecting her? Huh? 
			(SALVATORE doesn't answer. 
			He's too worried, too 
			upset. ALFREDO climbs 
			another step, whispering.)
		...It's a nasty business waiting by 
		yourself. In company it's better. 
		No?...Then I'll leave. 
	As usual ALFREDO'S sweetness comforts SALVATORE, indeed suddenly gives him a 
	bold idea, one that quiets his nervousness. He puts a hand on ALFREDO'S 
		Alfredo, I need your help!
	The Balilla speeds as fast as it can down the road to the city, where ELENA s 
	family has gone to live. SALVATORE drives along in a state of agitation. The 
	idea of having to leave without seeing ELENA is his obsession. An obsession he 
	refuses to accept...
	The second part has begun, the reel is full. For the first time in many
	years, ALFREDO is alone in the booth, sitting in front of the projector,
	and he feels helpless. Not only because he's blind, but also because
	there is nothing he can do for SALVATORE. A strange agitation comes over him, as 
	if he were experiencing the same anxiety troubling his 'Toto' at that moment. 
	Meanwhile, the film roll on and with it, time, minutes...
	SALVATORE has already reached the city. He slows down at the bus
	terminus. Looks at the people waiting, but she is not there...
	He asks several girls in front of the University. But they haven't seen
	He phones from a phone booth. But nobody answers. His self-control
	is about to give way to desperation...
	On the reel there is less film. Like an hourglass with the sand trickling
	SALVATORE comes streaking up in front of her house. He screeches to a stop, 
	dashes out like greased lightning. His nerves are tense, a slight tremor runs 
	through his whole body. He rings the bell, but nobody answers. A MAN who lives 
	in the building opens the front door and comes out. 
	SALVATORE seizes the chance and climbs up to the third floor. He pounds on the 
	door furiously, almost cracking his knuckles. But all to no avail; there is 
	nobody at home. He shrieks, panic stricken. 
		Open up! Open up! Elenaaa! 
	And in fact, there is somebody inside: ELENA's MOTHER. She sits there immobile, 
	without a word. 
	The pounding on the door reverberates in the room, but she does not budge, 
	determined to ignore that desperate message.
	The reel spins faster. The film is almost ended. By now there is very
	little time...
	And SALVATORE is on his way home, defeated. Be drives as fast as he can. Be is 
	in a terrible state, can't figure out what's happened. Can't explain it. And 
	that's what hurts. 
	The words 'THE END' appear on the screen...and the film runs out, leaving the 
	projector turning uselessly. ALFREDO is alarmed. He can hear that the film is 
	finished, but doesn't know where to begin. He gropes around. He's scared. Like a 
	little boy calls his mother when he's lost in a crowd, so old ALFREDO calls 
		TotooooO! TotooooO! 
	The few people down in the audience start whistling and complaining about the 
	film they haven't understood. 
		Lights! Christ, what a piece of 
		crap!! We want OUT money back!!! 
		Heeeeey!! Bandits!! 
	Others are shouting that they like the film.
	The Balilla screeches to a stop in front of the theatre. SALVATORE darts out and 
	runs to the stairs...
	SALVATORE turns the lights on in the theatre and turns off the projector, trying 
	to calm down ALFREDO, who has got to his feet, frightened. 
		But where'd you go, Toto?!! 
		I'm here! Take it easy! Take it easy! 
			(And he folds him into his 
			arms, like calming down a 
			little boy who has had a 
			nightmare. Be whispers, 
			still out of breath:) 
		Sit down, sit down...
			(ALFREDO quiets down as 
			SALVATORE lowers him into 
			a chair, and asks him the 
			only question upon which 
			his last hope depends.) 
		Did she come? 
		No, nobody came. 
			(And he embraces him, 
			almost as if to comfort 
			him in his great 
	For SALVATORE it's really the end: she's not coming. Tomorrow he'll be leaving 
	without having seen her again. 
	SALVATORE'S hands remove the photographs of Amedeo Nazzari and of ELENA from the 
	wall, slip them into one of his pockets. 
	Now the hands open the metal containers of tomorrow's film, take . 
	out the reels to set them up, pick up the receipt - his last before leaving - 
	and with the same mechanical gesture, hang it on a nail, as usual.
	A wild frenetic sequence, set to the pace of military life...SALVATORE, in 
	uniform with close-cropped hair, answers his superior, shouts: 
		Radio Operator Di Vita Salvatore! 
		Third Battalion, Ninth Company, 
	Target practice. SALVATORE fires all the shots in the cartridge, one after the 
	A SECOND LIEUTENANT barks out a march rhythm in the blazing sun. 
		One, two, one, two!! Attention! Left 
	SALVATORE sneaks out of line, goes over and slips a letter into 
	the mailbox and hurries back to his place.
	On one of the public phones in a square of Rome, SALVATORE is phoning ELENA. 
	Nobody answers. He slams down the receiver, as the line of SOLDIERS waits its 
	Night-time. A large plastic bag full of water. A thud. SALVATORE wakes up with a 
	start in a lake of ice water. He lets out a terrified shriek as the others 
	laugh, protected by the dark. 
		Aaaaaaah! Heeeeeelp!! 
	In the large dormitory, the SERGEANT is handing out the mail. He 
	throws a pile of letters on SALVATORE'S bunk. They are his letters to ELENA, 
	Mess duty. SALVATORE is washing Up, in a sea of water and grease.
	He rimes a pan full of tomato sauce with a tap hose. A spurt of red water 
	splatters him in the face. 
	A training run. Another letter which SALVATORE drops into the mailbox...
	A cold, rainy night. SALVATORE stands stiff as a poker in front of the 
	Ammunition depot. It is his first guard duty. Soaked to the skin, gazing wide-
	eyed into empty space. 
	COLONEL'S office. 
		Colonel, I was supposed to spend ten 
		days here and it's been about a year, 
		and I haven't ever gone borne. I'd 
		like a furlough, at least! 
	SALVATORE is in the guardhouse. A cold, dark, filthy cell. His nerves start to 
	give way. He bows his head in despair. 
	Hospital. SALVATORE is exhausted, run-down. The night-stand is jammed with 
	medicines. He lies in bed without moving, staring off into empty space, and 
	repeats obsessively in a low voice, as if talking to himself. 
			(He has touched the 
			extreme of suffering, a 
			young man who has 
			been denied love and 
			affection, his rights, 
			freedom. A NURSE comes 
		Di Vita Salvatore, get ready, your 
		discharge has come through.
	SALVATORE registers this information with his eyes and nods absently.
	The bus disappears around the corner leaving SALVATORE standing there alone. It 
	is a blazing hot day. The sirocco wind blows the yellow dust in all directions. 
	The square is empty, the billboard in front of the closed movie house announces 
	a Western. SALVATORE puts his suitcase on the ground, looks around. Everything 
	exactly the same, immobile. Only one new feature  in the cafe there's a jukebox 
	playing 'Estate' sung by Milva. 
	SALVATORE turns towards the Cinema Paradiso. The projectionist is at the 
	window of the booth, smoking a cigarette. Who knows who he is, where he came 
	from. A hot flurry of dust. SALVATORE turns and sees a dog leaping around kim, 
	wagging its tail. It's the dog that kept him company during his nights beneath 
	the window. SALVATORE gives a start of joy, drops his suitcase and leans over to 
	stroke him. Then he hugs him, as if he were an old friend. 
	SALVATORE goes to see ALFREDO. He is still in bed, has just woken up. He is glad 
	to hear his 'Toto'. He feels his forehead, his eyes and cheeks, as if to 'see' 
		You 're thinner...You can tell 
		you've not been treated well. 
			(As usual, you can't hide 
			anything from ALFREDO. 
			SALVATORE senses something 
			different in him that he 
			can't figure out, like 
			same wild restlessness 
		They tell me you never go out, never 
		talk to anybody. Why?
		Toto, sooner or later there comes a 
		time when talking or keeping quiet is 
		the same thing. So it's better to 
		shut up. 
			(Changing his lone) 
		It's hot in here. Toto, take me to 
		the beach. 
	The sea is ruffled and the air is less sultry, easier to breathe. 
	SALVATORE and ALFREDO walk slowly along the waterfront. ALFREDO totters 
	slightly, holds on to SALVATORE, who is telling him something very funny. 
		At the Christmas party the lieutenant 
		pinches a girl's ass. The girl turns 
		around: it's the daughter of the 
		commanding officer. The lieutenant is 
		scared to death and says: 'Miss, if 
		your heart is as hard as what I have 
		just touched, I'm done for! 
	And they roar with laughter. They look like two old school buddies telling each 
	other dirty jokes. They stop beside a low wall. ALFREDO knows that those laughs 
	are simply a way of uselessly dancing around the countless things that are 
	troubling SALVATORE. And he breaks the ice, while SALVATORE is still 
		Did you ever see her again? 
			(SALVATORE'S laughter dies 
			away, taken off-guard as 
			he is. Then he lights a 
		No. And nobody knows where she is. 
		It was probably meant to be like 
		this. Each of us has a star to 
		follow. So now what are you thinking 
		of doing? 
	It's a terrible question, and SALVATORE has no answer to it. In fact, would 
	rather not even talk about it. He changes his tone, as if he hadn't heard it, 
	laughs, trying again to ding to the funny jokes he heard during military 
		Listen to this one...The commander 
		says to the sergeant: 'You 
		remember that windmill that used to 
		be there?' 'Yes, sir, I remember the 
		mill's gone but the wind's still 
			(And he bursts into 
			nervous laughter. But this 
			time ALFREDO remains cold, 
			unmoved, does not laugh 
			with him. SALVATORE 
			gradually falls silent. He 
			doesn't know what to say. 
			For the first time in his 
			life, he doesn't know what 
			goal to aim for, doesn't 
			know what to do. The cloud 
			of smoke wreaths his 
			nervous face, now he seems 
			to relax, whispers:) 
		You remember the story of the soldier 
		and the princess? 
			(ALFREDO nods his head.) 
		Now I understand why the soldier went 
		away just before the end. That's 
		right, just one more night and the 
		princess would have been his. But 
		she, also, could not have kept her 
		promise. And...that would have been 
		terrible, he would have died from it. 
		So instead, for ninety-nine nights at 
		least he had lived with the illusion 
		that she was there waiting for him...
			(This time SALVATORE is 
			the one to explain 
			something to ALFREDO. And 
			ALFREDO realizes how 
			bitter his story is and, 
			above all, that the boy 
			standing there is no 
			longer a boy...) 
		Do like the soldier, Toto! Go away! 
		This land is cursed. 
			(They are now leaning 
			against a boat on the 
			beach. ALFREDO goes on 
			whispering his words.) 
		When you're here every day you feel 
		like you're at the center
		of the universe, it seems like 
		nothing ever changes. Then you go 
		away, one year, two...And when you 
		come back, everything's different. 
		The thread has broken. You don't 
		find those you were looking for, your 
		things no longer exist. Isn't that 
		the case?...You've got to go away a 
		long time, for many, many years, 
		before coming back and finding your 
		people again, the land where 
		you were born...But not now, it's 
		impossible. Now you're blinder than I 
			(Intense words, straight 
			from the heart, and 
			SALVATORE is spellbound. 
			He whispers with a smile:) 
		Who said that? Gary Cooper, James 
		Stewart, Henry Fonda? Huh? 
			(ALFREDO also gives a 
			gentle smile) 
		No, Toto, nobody said it. I say it! 
		Life's not like you saw it in the 
		movies. harder. 
			(He lays his hand on 
			SALVATORE'S shoulder, 
			gives it a hard squeeze.) 
		Get out! Go back to Rome. You 're 
		young, the world is yours! And I'm 
		old...I don't want to hear you talk 
		any more, I want to hear talk about 
	SALVATORE gives a shudder that runs through his very soul. The setting sun lies 
	colorless on the horizon.
	Night. The square is empty. SALVATORE is sitting on the church steps. 
	His head in his hands. He has to make a decision leave or stay. And why?... 
	'What decision will he make?' is the question that keeps ALFREDO awake, in his 
	hot dark bedroom...
	MARIA, his mother, also can't get to sleep. She knows, senses, that her son is 
	on the verge of an important turning-point. But what will he decide? What will 
	Also LIA, his sister, feels a strange, heavy tension in the air. And 
	doesn't sleep. She's probably wondering where SALVATORE is at that 
	He's sitting on the ground. But even if he were to go to bed he wouldn't 
	sleep. He rubs his face with his hand. The church bell chimes four a.m...
	ALMOST THIRTY YEARS LATER, another distant bell is chiming four a.m. And 
	SALVATORE is once again wide awake. He is thinking, with his hand on his face, 
	just like then. And the same decision to make: what to do? Stretched out beside 
	a sleeping WOMAN, he goes on staring at the window. Outside, the storm has 
	passed. The long memory has almost faded, only the sound of a train surfaces in 
	his mind...
	It's the train that THIRTY YEARS EARLIER had pulled into the station
	of his home town before leaving for Rome. SALVATORE hugs his 
	MOTHER and SISTER. The moment has come to say goodbye to  
	ALFREDO. The old man is deeply moved. A heart-rending trembling
	comes into his husky voice. 
		Don't come back any more, don't think 
		about us, don't turn round, don't 
		write, don't give in to nostalgia. 
		Forget us all. If you can't hear it 
		and come back, don't come looking for 
		me, I won't let you into the house, 
		you understand? 
	They clasp each other tightly, as if they knew they wouldn't be meeting 
		Thanks for all you've done for me. 
		Whatever you do, love it like you 
		loved that projection booth of the 
		Paradiso when you were little...
			(The train moves now. 
			Hands wave in the air, 
			drawing further and 
			further away. The PRIEST 
			has arrived at the last 
			moment and waves goodbye 
			from the distance.)
		Goodbye, TotooooooO!!! I got here too 
		late. What a shame! 
	The figure of ALFREDO and the others can no longer be distinguished. Only a 
	distant blur at the end of the track. 
	THIRTY YEARS LATER, a plane flies over Sicily. It lands on the 
	runway char seems to emerge from the sea and flatten out towards the slopes of 
	the dark mountains. Salvatore's face appears among the clouds reflected in one 
	of the plane windows. He has the tense look of the man who suddenly comes home 
	after the adventure of life has carried him afar, wandering the world, where he 
	has forgotten everything. From the plane window to another window...
	...the window of the taxi-cab driving SALVATORE to his home town. The scenery 
	moving by on either side of the road summons up sweet memories. A lot of things 
	have changed, but the colors are still the same. The yellow running through the 
	entire landscape is unmistakable. And all those black birds perched in a row on 
	the guard-rail are crows. 
	The cab now approaches the outskirts of Giancaldo. But if the sign, 
	hadn't been there with the name on it, it could be an entirely different 
	The house where SALVATORE'S MOTHER lives is also new, nearer the 
	The old lady is sitting alone in an armchair in the parlor, knitting a white 
	sweater. Her hands move very swiftly, almost mechanically. 
	The hands of a woman who is waiting. The front doorbell rings twice. MARIA stops 
	short. That is what she has been waiting for. She mumbles in excitement. 
		It's Toto...I knew it...
	And she scrambles to her feet, dropping her knitting in the chair, one needle 
	dangling over the edge. She hurries off, forgetting that she still has the ball 
	of white yarn in her apron pocket. And the yarn runs off the needles and the 
	knitting comes undone quickly as she moves about the house, goes down the stairs 
	to the front door.   
	There the yam stops and MARIA' s excited voice is heard.
				SALVATORE'S VOICE (Off-screen) 
		How are you, Mamma?... 
	The camera now moves, discovering them through the parlor window, hugging each 
	other outside the front door. Under the curious eyes of an old bored dog.
	MARIA is no longer wearing an apron. Mother and son are sitting side 
	by side at the kitchen table...
		Lia'll be so glad to see you, you'll 
		see. And you won't recognize the 
		kids any more, they're grown up by 
		They're always writing to me saying 
		they want to come to Rome!
	SALVATORE looks around; It's a place he's never seen before, and yet it's 
	his mother's house.)
		See how pretty the house is? We did 
		everything over.
		If it hadn't been for you! 
			(Getting up) 
		Come, I have a surprise.... 
			(She takes him by the hand 
			and leads him out to the 
			hallway. SALVATORE looks 
			at her and feels a pang. 
			She seems smaller, age 
			withers the body, she is 
			slightly stooped, her hair 
			is gathered into a knot at 
			the back other head.)
		You must be tired. If you want to 
		rest, there's time before the 
			(Interrupting her) 
		No, Mamma, it only takes an hour by 
		air, you know. 
			(Smiling, ironically) 
		You shouldn't tell me that now. After 
		all these years! 
			(SALVATORE gets the 
			message, feels guilty. 
			Thinking about it, it 
			seems incredible that he 
			has never come before. 
			MARIA opens a door, steps 
			aside to let her son in, 
		I put all your things in here. Go in, 
		go in...
	SALVATORE lakes a few steps, is flabbergasted at the sight of his old room 
	perfectly reconstructed and preserved. It looks like a museum, the museum of the 
	past. Despite the bed, the clothes in the cupboard, the books on the shelves, it 
	is perfectly clear that no one has ever lived in it and never will live in it. 
	MARIA senses his perturbation, remains standing in the doorway as if to leave 
	him alone...SALVATORE goes over to the bed, looks around  the old 8mm movie 
	camera, the projector, his documentaries, the bicycle hanging on the wall, the 
	photographs of his favorite movie stars. But what mostly catches his eye is a 
	tiny framed photograph: SALVATORE as a little boy and ALFREDO, standing smiling 
	in front of the Cinema Paradiso. Strange, at that time ALFREDO was younger than 
	he is now! It's as if he were standing there before him one last time. That 
	impressive figure, his good-natured bur firm look, touches his heart. From 
	ALFREDO'S smiling face to...
	...the coffin where his old blind friend rests for ever. The funeral
	procession winds its way down the main street. At the intersections, , 
	cars stop to let the black hearse pass by. People cross themselves. The old men 
	remove their hats. Store shutters are lowered. Then, when the procession has 
	passed by, the cars start up again, the old men put their hats back on, the 
	shutters are pulled up. 
	SALVATORE is in the front row with his MOTHER, next to ALFREDO'S WIDOW. 
	SIGNORA ANNA says in a whisper, her eyes fixed on the coffin.  
		He would have been happy you came, 
		Toto. He always talked about you. 
		Always! Right to the end! He was 
		terribly fond of you...
			(Tears come to her, she is 
			unable to say any more. 
			SALVATORE gives her a hug, 
			deeply touched by her 
		He left two things for you. Come see 
		me before you leave. 
	SALVATORE nods his head. He gazes intensely at the coffin covered with flowers 
	and is grieved as if he were ashamed never to have come to see the man who had 
	been like a father to him. But why had he forgotten him? Up in front, leading 
	the procession, he sees a young PRIEST with an altar boy beside him, and these 
	figures are also like chisels scraping the rust off his soul and bringing old 
	feelings to light again. 
	The procession reaches the square. The dark column stands etched in the dazzling 
	early-afternoon light. SIGNORA ANNA motions the driver and the procession comes 
	to a halt. It is ALFREDO'S last farewell to the place where he had spent the 
	best years of his life  the Cinema Paradiso. Everyone turns to look and 
	SALVATORE also turns, taken by surprise...It has fallen to pieces: doors and 
	windows boarded shut, crumbling walls, a piece of the sign dangling down, weeds 
	and mildew in the cracks and on the roof. The square has changed completely, is 
	unrecognizable. Buildings, stores, sign boards and lines of cars creeping at a 
	snail's pace in a deafening chorus of honking horns. And the central square has 
	turned motorcycles. SALVATORE turns slowly to look behind him, towards the small 
	crowd, and is entranced by the unexpected sight of faces that he recognizes at 
	once, despite the many years that have gone by:  the MAN AT THE BOX OFFICE, the 
	USHER who also served as bill-poster, the CHARWOMAN, the CARABINIERE SERGEANT, 
	and further on behind ROSA and ANGELO, the lovebirds who had met in the movie 
	house and then got married. They all have white hair. And they too have 
	recognized him, give little hello nods and gestures. Another face 
	he seems to recognize: why sure, it's SPACCAFICO, the owner. How old he's 
	become! He also looks up and his eyes meet SALVATORE'S. A hello nod. 
	SALVATORE makes his way over to him through the crowd. They shake hands 
	heartily, without a word, both touched. The procession starts up again. 
			(Under his breath) 
		How long's it been shut? 
		Six years ago this May. No one came 
		any more. You "know better than me, 
		Mr. Di Vita, the crisis, television, 
		videos. By now the movie business is 
		only a dream. The city's bought it 
		now to make a new parking lot. Next 
		Saturday they're 
		tearing it down...A pity!...
	SALVATORE is disconcerted, irritated by that 'Mr. Di Vita'. Besides, finding 
	out that the movie house is to be torn down depresses him, after all, it's a 
	piece of his life...And all those curious faces staring at him.
		But why do you call me 'Mr. Di Vita'? 
		It didn't used to be that way...
		Well, it's hard to call an important 
		person by his first name. But if it 
		really matters to you, I'11 call 
	SALVATORE smiles at that. Meanwhile, the procession has reached the church. 
	SALVATORE excuses himself and goes over to the hearse. Old SPACCAFICO watches 
	him go, then says, almost to himself) 
		Bless you, Toto. 
	The coffin is unloaded. SALVATORE has asked to be one of the 
	bearers into the church. As he moves off slowly with that weight 
	on his shoulder, somebody catches his eye on the other side of the sidewalk. An 
	old woman, sixty or seventy years old, with a plastic bag in her hand. She 
	crosses herself quickly. SALVATORE recognizes her  she was the one he made love 
	with for the first time. TERESA, the prostitute. The coffin is carried into the 
	church, followed by the little procession. 
	The little house is sunk in the darkness of evening and the ground floor
	windows are lit up. The rustling of the sea can be heard. The family is having 
	supper. The table is set with the finest silver and the company china has been 
	brought out. LIA is also there with her husband, ALFIO, and their two children. 
	FILIPPO, fifteen, and SARA, thirteen. The television is on, but the sound has 
	been turned practically all the way down. SALVATORE'S presence arouses a special 
	excitement. The children look at their uncle with a certain awe, after all they 
	don't really know him. 
		Uncle, the next time Granny comes to 
		Rome, I want to come along too. I 
		want to see what you do when you 
		Fine. But I warn you, there isn't 
		much to see. I sell much more smoke 
		than fire...
	The CHILDREN laugh. At the sight of them, LIA, ALFIO and MARIA also smile.
		Watch out, don't get too familiar 
		with those two 
			(indicating the children)
		they're worse than cannibals. They'll 
		take advantage. 
	Everybody laughs again. Even MARIA laughs a lot. SALVATORE looks at her; he had 
	never seen her laugh like that, amused, at peace.
		You leaving tomorrow, Uncle? 
	SALVATORE doesn't know what to say. He feels drunk. It has been a day of violent 
	upheavals, a series of almost overwhelming emotions and now he knows nothing  on 
	the one hand, he' d like to stay, let himself drift on the sweet tide of family 
	life, be completely carried off by the rolling waves of his own past: on the 
	other, he wishes he had never come. He forces himself to smile again.
		I don't know, Filippo. I don't 
	They go on eating, but SALVATORE isn't very hungry. Re peers at LIA eating out 
	of the comer of his eye, feels deeply bound to her  she has a few white hairs 
	and light wrinkles line her face. 
	Then he looks at her husband, ALFIO, he's going bald but he tries to hide it by 
	combing over the little hair left. Who knows what their marriage is like, he 
	wonders. He looks back at LIA, and it's as if she sensed it, she looks up, 
	guesses the nature of his thoughts, imagines what he is trying to figure out, a 
	blush colors her cheeks and she smiles. SALVATORE returns a conniving smile.
	The ringing of a phone. SARA starts to get up to go and answer it, hut MARIA 
	stops her with a glance of the eye.
		It must be for you...They've been 
		calling all afternoon. They wanted to 
		know if you're leaving this evening 
		or tomorrow...
	Everyone turns to SALVATORE with questioning looks, making him feel even more 
	restless and undecided. The phone goes on ringing.
	The TRAFFIC cops are trying to break the front door down with their
	shoulders. Once, twice, and at last, the door flies open with a screech, 
	kicking up a cloud of dust. SALVATORE enters by himself...
	SALVATORE'S silhouette stands out against the light in the open door. S lowly he 
	makes his way into the empty theatre. A thick layer of dust lends everything a 
	gray, rarefied look. The light streaming in from the windows up above teems with 
	strange mates of dust, like a haze. 
	Cobwebs hang like long veils from the ceiling. SALVATORE walks down the middle 
	aisle. The rows of seats are unhinged, what was once the wooden veneer has 
	warped from the dampness. He looks around as if he Were thumbing through the 
	album of his memories.  
	The screen dangles from its frame. The emergency exits are boarded 
	and nailed shut. Observing the emptiness of the theatre, SALVATORE 
	has the feeling he can hear the howling, the whistling and voices of the . 
	audience, as he remembers it. But only for one brief moment, then the silence 
	returns. A mouse creeps along one wall, stops near a pile of dust. SALVATORE is 
	attracted by that little gray mass. He goes over as the mouse scampers off, 
	takes a closer look and recognizes the shape of half a lion's head covered with 
	dust. He moves it with his foot, then looks up at the projection booth, 
	repeating the same gesture of bygone years. But the lion's head is no longer 
	there, only the outline of it on the wall, and cobwebs have covered the hales of 
	the booth, those little square openings that had caused him such long suffering 
	as a little boy...SALVATORE now climbs up the spiral staircase. Each step kicks 
	up a little cloud of dust. 
	The little booth, yellow with fumes, appears before him again. Now it 
	looks like some big, empty cave. The projector is no longer there, nor 
	the equipment. Who knows where they junked them?! The only thing left is a clump 
	of film strips still attached to the wall: trailers, Part One 
	endings, etc...There he had kissed ELENA for the first time, and
	strips of film like those had grazed their faces. Now they are caught up
	in the coils of cobwebs. And where the film-winder once stood, the
	nails remain with thousands of yellowing receipts. Of all the films 
	shown at the Cinema Paradiso Palace. And three more boxfuls of 
	them are on the floor. 
	And the windows overlooking the square are bolted shut and the glass   
	broken. SALVATORE peers out of one of the cracks in the window and
	sees the village...which is now a city. A different world he no longer 
	The cafe in the square has been completely renovated. The CASHIER and BARMEN 
	have young, unfamiliar faces. SALVATORE holds out the receipt with a tip. 
		A double whisky, please. 
	Several BOYS are sitting at the comer tables, talking about girls. Others stand 
	playing 'war games', shake around to the obsessive strains of same electronic 
	A man comes up to SALVATORE and asks for his autograph. Then SALVATORE turns to 
	the plate-glass window overlooking the main street, where the workers' club once 
	was. And like a flash, a shudder freezes him to the spot.... Two steps away 
	him, through the glass, a stunning vision, which casts him beyond time, chills 
	his blood: there before him is ELENA! But she is still young, young as she was 
	then! Sweet, luminous, alluring, exactly the way he saw her the first time at 
	the station. 
	She is waiting to go across the street with a bunch of books under her 
	arm...Have the passing years had no effect on her? Or is she an hallucination? 
	No! It's a dream! Or is he dead too, like ALFREDO? SALVATORE doesn't know how to 
	explain it. And he is suddenly seized by a feeling of panic. His glass drops to 
	the floor...As the GIRL walks off... 
	At the age of fifty-five, SALVATORE feels no scruples about wandering
	the streets of his home town, spying from a distance on an eighteen- year-old 
	girl. There's nothing he can do about it. He stares at her with the amazement of 
	someone who discovers that miracles exist. Now he is nearer to her. How lovely 
	she is! It's her, no doubt about it! Exactly the same. Except she has a 
	different hair-do and is wearing different clothes:  ELENA didn't wear slacks. 
	The GIRL goes up to a parked motorcycle. She removes the padlock and fastens her 
	books to the rack. SALVATORE is standing there a few steps away, and without 
	stopping to think, moves a little closer, discreetly, politely.
		Excuse me, Miss...
			(She turns to look at him, 
			indifferent, but friendly. 
			He looks at her wonderful 
			blue eyes.) 
		I'm so sorry, I thought you were 
		someone else. 
	She has already started the motor of her bike. A flip of the accelerator and 
	off she goes, her hair flying in the wind. 
	SALVATORE follows her with his eyes until she disappears around the corner.
	The old shots of ELENA getting off the train and walking away, casting a curious 
	look at the camera...SALVATORE is watching her again, projected on the white 
	wall of his room. He also watches the other shots of those happy long-gone days  
	the picnic,. she at the beach, smiling, joyful...And again SALVATORE doesn't 
	understand, or doesn't want to understand. But these scenes could have been shot 
	yesterday, so identical to ELENA is the girl he saw on the street...And the 
	wound which he thought had healed years ago, starts bleeding again. 
	The lingering note of suffering for a romance that had ended without his ever 
	knowing why, and the endless explanations that had been sifted through by his 
	young mind, start slipping through his soul again, like those shots 
	slipping again through an old 8mm projector. 
	Through the crack of the door, MARIA sees those images on the wall, SALVATORE 
	rocking his head back and forth slowly, like he used to do as a boy when he 
	cried. She somehow feels his grief, his bitterness, lowers her eyes and walks 
	away without a word, as the little shiny rectangle on the wall remains blank, 
	empty...And SALVATORE sits there gazing at it, as if he saw other scenes which 
	his camera never set down on film, only his memory. 
	The HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS are coming out after school. Happy young faces. That 
	GIRL 's motorcycle can be seen in a rear-view mirror. SALVATORE is at the wheel 
	of the car ALFIO has lent him. He has obviously followed that motorcycle before. 
	He waits with an eagerness he thought he had long lost, a determination to 
	understand, to get to the bottom of the matter, which frightens him and at the 
	same time overwhelms him hopelessly. 
	And here she comes. She unlocks the padlock and prepares to speed off. SALVATORE 
	starts the motor and follows her a short distance away. The GIRL heads for the 
	new residential district on the outskirts. 
	MARIA is setting the table. LIA and her family are eating at her 
	house today. SALVATORE is sitting again, with a lighted cigarette, 
	gazing through the window at the shrubs tossing in the wind and the 
	rolling sea. The air whistling through the cracks of the windows lends a 
	heaviness to the silence, like the troubled look on his face. MARIA glances at 
		What are you thinking, Toto? 
	SALVATORE looks at the old woman's lovely face, a faint smile. on his lips. 
	There was always something like an unspoken rule between them, the rule of 
	silence, of unconfessed complicity. And now he feels that rule has to be broken. 
	He speaks quietly, as if to curb the tumult of his feelings of guilt.
		I was thinking...that we've never 
		talked, Mamma...When I was little I 
		saw you as if you were already old. 
		That's probably true with all kids...
		Who knows? 
			(She nods, then sits down 
			before him. He strokes her 
			old, skinny, heavily 
			veined hands...) 
		But only now do I realize you were 
		young, you were beautiful, had a 
		whole life before you. But how...
			(Sighing) could you have lived alone 
		all that time, with no one to look 
		after you? You could have 
		remarried...Why not? At the time I 
		probably wouldn't have understood, 
		but I would have later...
	MARIA doesn't answer, but she is not troubled. An inner peace lends her a sweet, 
	quiet expression. Then she too agrees to break the rule of silence. 
		I never had anybody. If that's what 
		you think...I didn't want anybody. I 
		always remained faithful. First to 
		your father, then to you, to Lia. 
			(With a shrug) 
		That's the way I'm made, there's 
		nothing I can do about it. 
		And you're like me, you're too honest 
		and too attached to the things you
		love...But I don't know if that's a 
		good thing. Faithfulness is a bad 
		business. If you're faithful, you're 
		always alone! 
			(SALVATORE is immersed in 
			the profound truth of 
			those words. And he says 
			nothing. The silence is 
			broken by the ringing of 
			the phone. A menacing 
			sound, which SALVATORE 
			cannot bear. He knows they 
			are calling him from Rome, 
			gives a nervous gesture, 
			stands up and pulls out 
			the plug. The silence 
			returns, the whistling of 
			the wind. MARIA lowers her 
		It's my fault! It would have been 
		better if I hadn't called you... 
	SALVATORE sits down again, leaning closer to her. He stubs out his cigarette in 
	the already overflowing ashtray.
		No...It's nothing to do with you. 
		It's just that I was scared of coming 
		back. Now, after all these years, I 
		thought I was strong, that I had 
		forgotten lots of things. Instead, I 
		find it's quite the opposite, as if I 
		had never left. And yet, I look at 
		Lia and feel as if I didn't know her, 
		and you, Mamma...I abandoned you, 
		ran away like a thief, thought only 
		of myself, and never gave you 
		an explanation...
			(Interrupting him) 
		And I never asked for one! You have 
		nothing to explain. I always thought 
		that what you did was right, and that 
		was that. With no beating around the 
			(Smiling, playing it down) 
		Only one thing made me suffer: 
		bolting the door shut before going to 
		bed at night...
		You never used to do that! 
	She smiles like a little girl who is about to confess the fibs she has told.
		No, no...When you used to work at 
		the movies, I could never get to 
		sleep at night until you came home. 
		Then when you arrived, I pretended to 
		be asleep, but I heard all your 
		movements. Then when you fell asleep, 
		I'd get up and bolt the door. Then, 
		when you left, every time I did it, I 
		felt as if I had left somebody 
		outside the door, far away.... 
			(SALVATORE listens to his 
			MOTHER'S words, surprised 
			and entranced by the 
			poetry of her way of 
		But you were right to leave. You 
		succeeded in doing what you wanted to 
		When I call you, a different, woman 
		always answers. I pretend I know them 
		so they won't have to go through the 
		embarrassment of introducing 
		I'm sure they take me for a crazy old 
		woman. But so far I've never heard 
		one voice that really loves you...I 
		would have known. And yet, I'd like 
		to see you...settled down...fall in 
			(Gazing into his eyes) 
		But your life's there. Here there are 
		nothing but ghosts, Toto! Let it go. 
	She has said this with a subtle allusiveness in her voice. And SALVATORE 
	realizes she has always known everything. But he doesn't' answer her. 
	They look at each other a Long time without speaking. Their rule of conniving 
	silence has come back into play, as before, forever. It is her expression that 
	tells him to leave, to take the plane and fly away...
	But SALVATORE has not taken his MOTHER'S advice. Re has not left. Something 
	holds him there still, leads him to go on looking. 
	The GIRL'S motorcycle is parked in the courtyard beyond the gate of a small 
	house. He is studying it from inside the car parked in a corner of the small 
	square, near a café. Re has been there some while, but is not nervous, waits 
	there with determination...
	Several windows in the house are lit, but no one can be seen through 
	the curtains. Nothing but shadows pass by every now and then. Now the light in 
	one of the windows goes out, and the light on the stair goes on. The front door 
	opens and the GIRL comes out with a tall, sturdy- looking, elegantly dressed 
	GENTLEMAN around fifty. 
	They converse bur are too far away for their voices to be heard. SALVATORE 
	watches them come out the gate and climb into a car. They look like father and 
	daughter. The car now drives off and passes right by him. A gleam of light, 
	the reflection from the headlights, falls on the GENTLEMAN'S face. He recognizes 
	him at once, from the birthmark on his temple...
			(To himself) 
	His eyes flash, he's afraid he's understood. And now the craze to get to the 
	bottom of it all gnaws away at him. There is no turning back. 
	SALVATORE'S hands rifle through a phone directory. He is in the cafe, on the 
	other side of the glass door leading to the little square. His finger 
	runs down the column of names...
		His last name was Lo Meo, Vincenzo. 
	He has already put the token into the slot and dials the number, looking at the 
	two lit upstairs windows of that house, where the mystery of his life may be 
	hiding. SALVATORE hears the first ring, his heart in his throat...A shadow 
	appears in one of the windows. And a voice answers. 
			(It's a woman's voice. 
			SALVATORE shuts his eyes, 
			is about to speak, but the 
			lump in his throat 
			silences him...) 
		Hello? Hello? 
	He still hesitates, can' t get a word out, as if he had lost his voice or 
	didn't know what to say. He hangs up. The shadow at the window also hangs up, 
	then disappears... 
	SALVATORE is at a loss, sits down at one of the rabies near the 
	phone in the almost empty cafe. At the far end, a group of five people watching 
		You want something? 
	And he turns back to the television. SALVATORE lights a cigarette. He is 
	uncertain. Once again he has to lake an important decision  redial the number 
	and seek a face behind that shadow? Or forget the whole thing, the GIRL, BOCCIA, 
	the shadow, and go away? Yes, best go away. He gets up and leaves. He can be 
	seen through the window turning the comer. A pack of cigarettes and a lighter 
	lie on the table, he has forgotten them. And the lighted cigarette bums down in 
	the ashtray. A few moments have gone by. Footsteps, and a hand picks up the 
	lighter and the cigarettes. It is SALVATORE who now, on a sudden urge, slips 
	another token into the slot. The shadow reappears at the window. The same voice 
	as before.
		Hello, who's speaking? 
	SALVATORE answers at last, keeping his eyes shut, whispering:
		I'd like to speak to Signora Elena...
		Speaking. Who is it, please? 
	SALVATORE feels a terrible pang, continues:
	Silence, charged with tension. Then the voice continues weakly, as if puzzled.
	He runs his hand over his forehead, his eyes, as if to soothe the turmoil he 
	feels inside.
		Di Vita. Salvatore Di Vita. Do you 
			(Another pause chilly, 
			heavy. SALVATORE opens his 
			eyes, looks at the window. 
			Her shadow is motionless, 
			as if cut out of 
		Elena, I'm here, in the bar, across 
		the street from your house. 
	The shadow moves slowly, a hand pulls aside the curtain. It's a moment of heart-
	rending emotion...She appears. And they see each other from a distance, after 
	thirty years, each of them with a phone receiver to their ear. But she is 
	somewhat in the dark, against the light, it's impossible to make out her 
	features. Her voice gives a sudden start, instantly controlled.
		Certainly, I remember...
	SALVATORE'S eyes glisten, try to pierce the distance and the darkness to get a 
	better look, but in vain. 
		Elena. I'd like to see you...Let's 
	ELENA lets the curtain drop and goes back to being a shadow. She whispers the 
		It's been so long. Why should we 
		meet? What good would it do? 
		Please, don't say no.. . 
	But her voice is firm, unshakeable, even if quivering with emotion.
		I'm old, Salvatore. And you too. It's 
		best not to meet. Goodbye. 
	The shadow hangs up, disappears. The light goes off.
	The wind is stronger now, the streets and the square are empty. SALVATORE 
	is at the wheel of the car, driving aimlessly around the town. He has 
	rediscovered the woman who conditioned his whole life and they hadn't had the 
	courage to meet. An obsessive musical heat, fraught with rage, pours out of the 
	car radio. 
	A phone ringing drowns out the sound of the television and the wind  
	whistling outside. In the half-darkened room, MARIA picks up the receiver...  
	No one answers, but she can sense the presence of someone who now hangs up. 
	MARIA is alarmed. Who could it be at this hour? And where is Toto?
	SALVATORE stands motionless on the pier, facing the storm-tossed sea. He feels 
	relieved by the roar of the waves that dispels his bitter thoughts, blurs them, 
	but does not wipe out the look of suffering in his eyes. A flashing light seems 
	to approach behind his back. SALVATORE turns and is blinded by the headlights of 
	a car parked at the beginning of the pier. The splattering waves lend the scene 
	a hazy cast and diffuse the glare of the flashing headlights. Now the lights 
	move towards him. And SALVATORE also lakes a few timid steps forward... 
	They are close. The car has almost stopped. But it is impossible to make out the 
	person at the wheel who now reaches over to open the other door. A voice can be 
	barely heard over the raging sea. It is ELENA's voice. 
	SALVATORE approaches, accepting the invitation, enters the car and shuts the 
	door. The headlights go off and the car remains there suspended between the open 
	sea and the harbor with its rocking boats. Inside the car, not a word. Two dark 
	figures gaze at each other, unintelligible, as if the night were trying to 
	further delay that meeting. The glowing reflection of a wave higher than the 
	others now lights up their faces. ELENA was right, they are no longer the faces 
	of teenagers, but of people on in years who study each other, searching for a 
	truth. The howling of the wind and the crashing of the waves are louder, but 
	ELENA and SALVATORE /rear nothing, sit glued to their seats, fixed in the 
	endless gaze that envelops them. He is the first to break the silence in a faint  
		How'd you know I'd be here? 
	ELENA  I don't know how many years have gone by, but some things about you I do 
	remember. There weren't many, places you could have gone. I looked around...
	SALVATORE turns on the light of the rear-view mirror. Finally 
	they can see better. They look at each other a little ill at ease, 
	making the inevitable comparisons with the memory of their young faces. 
	SALVATORE carefully observes her graying hair, her blue eyes lined 
	with wrinkles, the somewhat faded beauty mark on her lip.
		You're still beautiful...
		Don't be silly...I'm old.
			(She looks down troubled 
			by the way he has of 
			gazing into her eyes, 
			speaks almost mumbling her 
		Don't look at me like that, please. 
			(And she switches off the 
			light. But this time it is 
			less dark, things can be 
		Why'd you come back? 
		Alfredo died. Do you remember him? 
		Of course I remember him. I'm sorry. 
		You were terribly fond of him. 
	A moment of silence. It's hard to find something to say.
		I saw your daughter. She's beautiful! 
		Who knows how many Salvatores 
		must be running after her...
		One or two. Bur there're not all that 
		many Salvatores. 
			(SALVATORE also smiles, 
			but a puzzled smile as if 
			what she has said had 
			thrown him off-guard.) 
		I've got a son, too...he's older. 
		And you, do you have children? 
		No. And I'm not married. 
			(ELENA sits there in 
			silence. A veil of sadness 
			clouds her eyes. 
		Are you happy? 
		All things considered, yes. Even if 
		it wasn't what I dreamt of then...
	Again SALVATORE is thrown off-guard, as if the round key of 
	his enquiry had met with only square locks. She continues.
		My know him. 
		Sure, sure! Boccia...
			(With a bitter smile) 
		What's he do? 
		Politics. He's the district 
		representative. We met at the 
		University in Pisa. 
	Then instinctively, in a shy voice, SALVATORE asks the question 
	that he probably wouldn't have asked a moment later.
				SALVATORE come you never married 
		that guy from Tuscany? 
	The white foam of the waves splashes up over the wall of the pier, dashing 
	against the car windows. The shadow of the trickling water is superimposed on 
	the agony of their faces. ELENA hides her embarrassment beneath a faint but 
	haughty smile.
		I didn't want to...I had to fight 
		tooth and nail. But in the end I 
			(SALVATORE is unable to 
			smile. It's as if the void 
			were growing and swelling 
			within. Thunder and 
			lightning shatter the 
			roaring of the wind and 
			sea, hut it does not rain. 
			Now her smile Jades away.)
		At that time...I was waiting for 
	There is no resentment in her words. She has said them fondly. With the serenity 
	of someone who has suffered greatly and then found a strong convincing way of 
	suffering no more. For SALVATORE, it's as if one of those thunderbolts had 
	pierced his heart. He leans over, gazing into her shining eyes. 
		But I've never forgotten you, Elena! 
		Nor have I. Even though you 
			(SALVATORE is staggered, 
			feels as if he were 
			plunging into the void. 
			What she has said strikes 
			him as grotesque. ELENA 
			strokes his hair, as if to 
			restrain his sinking 
			heart, gives a sweet 
		But what's the point of talking about 
		it? We risk being pathetic and 
			(And she tries to change 
			the subject.) 
		You still live in Rome? 
	But SALVATORE ignores the question. He doesn't want to change the subject. 
	He feels that everything is crumbling inside him, the alibis and excuses he had 
	had to give himself in order to accept the end of their romance. And instead, 
	now the tables seem to have completely turned. Without realizing, he shouts 
	desperately, staring wildly at her and shaking her by the 
		What do you mean, you were waiting 
		for me?! What are you saying? 
			(He controls himself at 
			once, continues, breathing 
		The last time we saw each other, we 
		made a date to meet at the Cinema 
		Paradiso. You remember? And you 
		didn't come, you disappeared without 
		leaving a trace, nothing! I'll tell 
		you how many years have gone by: more 
		than thirty!!! 
	Quiet rears stream down Elena's face, glisten with the reflections of the 
	lightning and the waves.
		I kept that date. 
			(SALVATORE laughs at the 
			absurdity of it. A 
			nervous, heartbroken 
			laugh, which slowly melts 
			away as she goes on to 
		But I was late...
			(Tears continue to stream 
			out of her blue eyes, but 
			she tells her story in a 
			calm voice.) 
		I had a fight with my family. I tried 
		to convince them again that they 
		couldn't separate us. But it was 
		futile. They had decided to leave 
		Sicily once and for all. Which is 
		what we did. I didn't know what to do 
		any more, what to say. And I said 
		yes, I'd do whatever they wanted. In 
		return, my father promised to let me 
		see you one last time, to say 
		goodbye. But I hoped that by seeing 
		each other we could take advantage of 
		it and make a decision...I thought 
		we would run away together. 
			(She holds back her sobs. 
			Dries her tears with the 
			back of her hand, and 
		My father drove me to the movie 
		theatre. But you weren't in the 
		projection booth. Only Alfredo...
	Her voice continues over the scene of same thirty years before...
		And I didn't have time to wait for 
		you to comeback... 
	From the bottom of the spiral staircase, ELENA'S FATHER is waiting nervously, 
	yells up at the projection booth.
		Elena! Hurry up!! 
		All right, Daddy!...
	In the projection booth, ALFREDO is sitting on a stool, near the
	projector. Seen from the rear, the YOUNG ELENA is leaning over 
	beside him, she is excited, her eyes are red and swollen with tears.
		So I told Alfredo how things stood 
		and fiat I was leaving the same 
		evening, and I asked him to tell you 
		everything. He was very kind, he 
		listened carefully, then... 
	ALFREDO answers YOUNG ELENA, stroking her hair.
		Easy, easy. 
		Listen carefully to what I have to 
		say. If you want me to tell Toto what 
		you've told me, I will. But if you 
		want my advice, forget it. It's 
		better for both of you if you don't 
		see each other...
			(YOUNG ELENA gives a start 
			of resentment, listens 
			with surprise.) 
		Dear girl, fire always turns into 
		ashes! Even the deepest love ends 
		sooner or later. And after that other 
		loves appear, lots of them. Toto, he 
		can't understand fiat now. If I tell 
		him he won't believe it, he' d be 
		capable of killing me...But you can 
		understand, you've got to 
		understand...Do it for him! 
	SALVATORE sits there without moving, pale as a sheet, looks as if he had
	grown even older. As if the whole world has fallen in on him. For ELENA, it was 
	a painful but liberating story. She dries her last tears. 
		It's the first time I've had to 
		chance to tell the story. I never 
		mentioned it to anybody. 
			(In a daze) 
		Alfredo, damn him! He cast his spell 
		on you too! 
		I told him I'd take his advice. But 
		before I went away I left you that 
			(SALVATORE gives her a 
			quick look, a questioning 
			look. He listens.) 
		I was on my way down the stairs...
			(Her voice continues, laid 
			over the...) 
	ELENA has already said goodbye to ALFREDO, is on her way down the stairs, but 
	stops short. 
		I thought Alfredo couldn't see me. So 
		I snuck back up...
			(She tip-toes back without 
			making any noise. Goes 
			over to the film-winder. 
			Takes out a pen, looks for 
			a scrap of paper, but 
			doesn't see any. Her eyes 
			fall on the film receipts 
			hanging on the nail. She 
			tears off the top one, 
			turns it over and 
			scribbles a message on the 
		I wrote you where you could find me, 
		and that I'd wait for you. 
	She hangs the scrap of paper back on the nail, well in sight. She creeps out, 
	glancing at ALFREDO, who hasn't noticed a thing.
	ELENA finishes telling her story. She heaves a Jeep sigh. 
		But you disappeared all the same. 
	There is a haunted look in SALVATORE's eyes, he is searching his memory for 
	something he can't find, then suddenly sees, as if in a dream...his hand thirty 
	years before going through the routine gesture of hanging a receipt on the nail, 
	over the others, mechanically, without even looking...and he shuts his eyes as 
	if fearing the truth. Her last words have wounded him. He shakes his head, then 
	in a faint voice:
		Oh, how I looked for you, Elena! 
		You'll never know. I wrote, 
		telephoned, nothing. Nobody ever 
		answered. But I dreamt of you for 
		years! That's why I went away...and 
		never came back here. 
			(And his anguish breaks 
			free, dissolving into 
			quiet, almost childish 
			tears. ELENA is startled 
			by his reaction. She 
			caresses him, 	
			passionately. They embrace 
			and remain like that, she 
			with her face buried in 
			his shoulder, he leaning 
			on hers with his tear-
			filled eyes.)
		Even as the years passed, in all the 
		women I met, I was only looking for 
		you. I had success it's true, but 
		there was always something missing...
			(She is deeply moved, goes 
			on caressing him gently 
			until he calms down. The 
			car windows are steamed 
			up. The sea, the harbor, 
			the waves have 	
			disappeared. Nothing 
			remains but the sound of  
			the storm. SALVATORE takes 
			her face between his 
			hands. They gaze at each 
			other, their faces 
			practically touching. He 
		I'd never have imagined that all this 
		had to end because of the man who was 
		like a father to me. A crazy lunatic!  
			(She gives a faint smile.) 
		He wasn't crazy. In the beginning I 
		was upset. I think I really hated 
		him. But then, with time, I 
		understood what he said...and your 
		silence too. 
	SALVATORE whispers one last dreadful revelation. And it's as if he had got a 
	terrible weight off his chest.
		But I never saw that note! 
			(He squints, as if to 
			stress the absurdity of 
			the idea.) 
		I must have covered it with my hand, 
		without realizing it, that's the only 
			(But strangely enough, 
			ELENA is not surprised.) 
		What difference does it make to find 
		an explanation? That's the way it 
		went. But Alfredo didn't betray you, 
		he was the only one who really 
		understood you. Salvatore, if you had 
		chosen to be with me, you'd have 
		never made your films. And that would 
		have been a pity! Because they're 
		wonderful, I've seen them all. 
			(Her eyes glitter with 
			joy, then she smiles, 
			almost ironically.) 
		But you shouldn't have gone and 
		changed your name. You should have 
		kept your own. 
	Tears stream down Salvatore's cheeks. He gives her a look of longing, of 
	ELENA embraces him. They kiss with heartrending tenderness, with the same 
	passion of their first kiss amidst the strips of film brushing their faces, so 
	many years ago. And they make love, clasped in the cramped quarters of the car, 
	like two teenagers. Passionate kisses, embraces, deep sighs. Their hair 
	damp with sweat, their hands clasping, their fingers interweaving. Then the 
	frenzy subsides into a deep, tumultuous pleasure, of immense loving and immense 
	grief...As outside the wind and the waves go on rating around that car which 
	seems suspended in empty space.) 
	SIGNORA ANNA'S hands place an old wooden stool and a rusty round 
	metal can on the table.
		These are the things he left to 
	SALVATORE is sitting by the table. He has finished the cup of coffee SIGNORA 
	ANNA has prepared for him. He picks up the stool, recognizes it at once: it's 
	the one ALFREDO had made for him as a little boy so he could climb up and put 
	the reels on the projector. 
		When they showed your films on 
		television, he was happy. He'd plop 
		himself down there and all his 
		ailments were forgotten. He knew all 
		the words by heart, every one, and 
		I'd describe what was going on. And 
		when the papers talked about 
		you, I had to read them two or three 
	SALVATORE examines the can, wonders what it can be. He opens it: inside is a 
	reel of film, wrapped in a plastic bag, well preserved. Those objects bring a 
	pang to his heart, and the things that ANNA said, but he feels disappointed, as 
	if he expected to find something else.
		Did he ever think of meeting me? 
		No, never! One time your mother said 
		that if he wanted, you'd have surely 
		come. He got furious and said  'No, 
		Toto mustn't come back to Giancaldo, 
		never!!' He didn't say it to be mean. 
		He was a decent man. Who knows what 
		he could have been thinking? Towards 
		the end he'd say such strange things. 
		And a moment before he shut his eyes, 
		he told your mother not to let you 
	A cloud of yellowed scraps of paper flutters into the air and as it falls slowly 
	to the ground another handful is flung up. SALVATORE is in the projection booth, 
	looking through the countless yellowed receipts, stuffed away in boxes. He looks 
	at them one by one, then throws them into the air. A desperate search, almost a 
	defiance of the passing of time. He continues with greater determination, flings 
	piles of receipts into the air, glances at a few dates, a film title, tries to 
	discover the oldest dates at the bottom. He moves swiftly, his hands plunge in, 
	then fling up a nimbus of paper and dust. But to no avail...He stops, short of 
	breath. His eyes go over to the nails in the wall, where other stacks of 
	receipts are hanging. He gets up and goes to look at them, thumbs " it through 
	them hastily, in anger... 
	He yanks off two or three packs, which come off, nail and all. Only then does he 
	notice that at the bottom of those blocks of yellowed paper, there are same more 
	sheets, much older, almost brown. His eyes concentrate on the mildewed scraps of 
	paper. He leans over, picks themup and goes through them one by one, delicately, 
	because they crumble in his fingers...And then all of a sudden, some film 
	he recognizes from that time. He goes on thumbing through them, and all at once 
	an astonished look appears on his face  in his hands is a receipt that has been 
	turned over. It's the one! The message scribbled on it can still be seen. He 
	reads it. 
		Salvatore, forgive me. I'll explain 
		later what happened. Not finding you 
		here was terrible. Unfortunately, 
		this evening, my mother and I are 
		leaving for Tuscany. We're moving 
		there. But you' re the only one I 
		love, I'll never be with anybody 
		else, I promise. Here's the address 
		of a girlfriend of mine where you 
		can write to me. Don't abandon me. 
		Love and kisses, Elena. 
	He clasps the scrap of paper, and his brimming eyes darken with regret.
	ELENA stands near the window overlooking the little square, listening on the 
	phone to SALVATORE'S voice. She can see him through the transparent curtain 
	speaking on the phone down below in the café. 
		When are you leaving? 
	SALVATORE opens his eyes, tosses away his cigarette.
		This afternoon. Elena, in the future 
		maybe we could...
	ELENA interrupts him, speaks softly, tenderly.
		No, Salvatore...there is no future. 
		There's only the past. Even meeting 
		last night was nothing but a dream, a 
		beautiful dream. 
		We never did it when we were kids, 
			(Down in the cafe, 
			SALVATORE nods his head 
			slowly, desperately.) 
		Now that it's happened, I don't think 
		there could have been a better 
			(It's farewell. SALVATORE 
			glances one last time at 
			that window.) 
		I'll never agree with you. Never, 
	The square, unusually empty. There is no one, and no cars and motorcycles are 
	parked in the middle. The stores are shut. And there is an unreal silence. The 
	houses on the two streets on either side of the theatre are covered by enormous 
	pieces of gray canvas. 
	Only now does the camera discover in the distance, a crowd of curious onlookers 
	waiting in front of the movie house, kept at a safe distance by firemen and 
	policemen. Old SPACCAFICO is in the crowd. SALVATORE is also there. Be gazes at 
	the front of the old movie theatre...
	The inside of the theatre, completely empty...All of a sudden, a blinding flash 
	...a deafening roar rends the air, accompanied by a surge of amazement in the 
	crowd. And the Cinema Paradiso suddenly collapses, folds inward and disappears 
	for ever in a gigantic cloud of white smoke that rises into the air, carried by 
	the wind towards the crowd...
	The echo of the explosion is also heard in ELENA'S house. She is alone. 
	And the bang distresses her, as if something had burst inside her. From her face 
	SALVATORE's face, stiff, unmoving, his eyes fixed on those falling ruins, on 
	that season of his life turning into smoke and dust. Enveloped in the white 
	cloud, SPACCAFICO stands crying in silence. 
	Mice dart out of the ruins in terror, scamper nervously into the square. A group 
	of youngsters scream, amused and excited. Among them, ELENA'S DAUGHTER, 
	smiling... SALVATORE sees her joking with friends and pointing to some boys  
	chasing the mice across the square, hooting and laughing. As a white-haired OLD 
	TRAMP, filthy and covered in rags, makes his way through the crowd. There is an 
	empty look in his eyes and he repeats obsessively in a low voice:
		The square's mine, the square's mine, 
		the square's mine... 
	SALVATORE recognizes him, it's the VILLAGE IDIOT, the one who used to close down 
	the square at night. Be watches him walk off, raving, with nobody even noticing. 
	The crowd now moves over to the huge empty space where the movie house once 
	stood. The murmuring voices are drowned out by the deafening roar of an 
	airplane. From the ruins of the Cinema Paradiso, fade to...
	...SALVATORE'S hands giving a STUDIO PROJECTIONIST the rusty metal can left him 
		Please check the splices. As soon as 
		you're ready you can start. 
		OK. Congratulations on your film. 
		It's terrific. 
	A COLLEAGUE of SALVATORE comes up behind him.
		The distributor is opening up the 
		film earlier. The press conference is 
		in the afternoon. The actors will 
		also be there, the producer, just 
		about everyone. 
	An ASSISTANT comes up to them.
		The official notification of the 
		award just came out, but we've 
		already received a mountain of 
		telegrams. Aren't you happy? 
		It's all right. We'll talk about it 
	SALVATORE walks off towards the viewing theatre. 
	SALVATORE is by himself in the small viewing theatre. Now the lights go down. 
	The beam of light shines out of the little square hole of the projection booth 
	and the screen lights up. A number trailer goes by and then SALVATORE sees the 
	first shots. 
	A start of intense amazement and joy suddenly runs through him, astounds him, 
	delights him. It's the best piece of film he has ever seen...  
	It consists of all the kisses ALFREDO cut out of the films and kept for him, 
	when he was a little boy. They have been spliced together, one , after the 
	other, at random, same of them even upside down. And yet it looks like a first-
	rate editing job. 
	In rapid sequence the passionate kisses between actors and actresses, names 
	famous and names unknown in the history of movies. Greta Garbo, Gary Cooper, 
	Alida Valii, Rudolph Valentino, Ingrid Bergman, Clark Gable, Anna Magnani, 
	Humphrey Bogart, Marlene Dietrich, Amedeo Nazzari, Luisa Ferida, Vittorio De 
	Sica, Rita Hayworth, Tyrone Power, Doris Durante, Massimo Gironi, Marta Abba, 
	Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Assia Noris...
	A whole movie season summed up in a few fragments, a few seconds. A bizarre, 
	poignant, melancholy parade. 
	SALVATORE is overwhelmed, moved to tears. It is the most profound act of love he 
	has ever seen. He laughs as tears shine in his eyes. Up on the screen, another 
	kiss, the last kiss marking the happy ending of a film. And the age-old words 
	appear 'THE END'.