The Kiss Montage

In the climax of Guiseppe Tornatore’s tear-jerking melodrama [Cinema Paradiso], a film producer named Salvatore sits in a screening room and beholds a wondrous and unexpected gift: a montage of kisses excised from films that played in the movie house that he frequented as a boy. The film’s running gag is that the local priest thought screen kisses were sinful and ordered the projectionist to remove them from any film that played in town; at the end of the film, this gag is transformed into a lyrical and cathartic set piece. “Cinema Paradiso” is about movie love and personal memory, and how the two are intertwined; it’s also about discovering the secret, true history of one’s own life — the details that were hidden from you as a youth, or that escaped your attention as an adolescent. All these aspects come together as Salvatore watches the montage of kisses, a clip reel that sums up a life.

Matt Zoller Seitz
How to Make the Perfect Movie Montage
Salon, 3 June 2011

Video: From Cinema Paradiso (1990), edited by Mario Morra; directed by Giuseppe Tornatore


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