One of the most iconic love scenes in cinema history is the closing scene from Cinema Paradiso; the moment when Salvatore sits alone in a movie theatre to watch the unexpected gift his childhood friend, Alfredo, left for him after his death. The film contains a reel of kissing scenes that were cut from movies in the 1950s, because they were considered “too much” to be shown in a cinema in a conservative Italian town.
While this scene was used perfectly to sum up the narrative of the movie and consolidate the eternal and fraternal relationship between Salvatore and Alfredo, it is also, in my mind, the most amazing way to sum up LOVE.
Salvatore watches, alone, scene after scene of people kissing—looking intensely into each other’s eyes, embracing passionately—and he’s doing it through one of his biggest loves: cinema. He reminisces about the old days, when he was introduced by Alfredo to this expression of art, while they were sharing moments that each of them would cherish forever. It makes me think of all the different expressions of love brought together in a three-minute sequence, all while Ennio Morricone’s Love Theme playing in the background.
The first time I watched the film, this feeling didn’t embed completely in my mind. I thought it was a beautiful ending, very powerful and meaningful. But when I grew up and rewatched the film, having fallen in love not only with a man, but also with a career, and surrounded myself with friends that feel more like brothers and sisters, then I saw a full circle of love in this scene. As cheesy as it sounds, it couldn’t be more true.