Little Salvatore, known to all as Toto, is fascinated by the movies and befriended by projectionist Alfredo. Toto becomes Alfredo's apprentice, which nurtures his love for cinema. The Cinema Paradiso is the center of village life, despite the depredations of Father Adelfio, who censors all of the films, indicating where to cut--at every kissing scene--by ringing a small bell. After a fire blinds Alfredo, Toto becomes the projectionist. As Toto grows older, his gaze switches from the flickering images on the screen to pretty classmate, but they are separated when Toto is drafted into the military. Thirty years later Salvatore, now a successful filmmaker in Rome, learns that Alfredo has died. His return to the small Sicilian village of his childhood unleashes a flood of memory, of a love as fleeting as those forbidden, excised kisses.
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