Nuovo Cinema Paradiso is the definitive dissimulation of poverty. It is also a film, but this is less relevant, we can say it's a great film precisely because it transcends its filmicity into hypocrisy I nearly said, and it's not even far from the truth, but being civilised folk we'll call it ideology instead and let it be.
Nuovo Cinema Paradiso is the distillate of poverty. The poverty of means, the poverty of any means. There's no money, and the social security payments are low. There's no customers, there's no brothers, no sisters, no colleagues, there's not what or who with. Nuovo Cinema Paradiso is the story of the parents with a single child, of the children with a single parent, of the only village with a single cinema that's the single amusement ; it's the space of men with a sole love, tired, a single wife, nosy, an only chance - nicked ; a single train ticket, crumpled. It is of they with a single country, a single language, belonging to one culture and expecting a single job from comrade Stalin, which they go seek in the only Germany.
Nuovo Cinema Paradiso is the space of the single disaster, which is also sufficient seeing how it's applied to the lone amusement ; and at the same time the space of the sole lottery winner. Which single misfortune and single fortune glue together constituting the single event in the only possible history. Nuovo Cinema Paradiso tells the story of lack of alternative, and this story is forever the story of poverty.
But it doesn't tell it just any way, which is why we say dissimulation of poverty. Doesn't tell it just any way, but tendentiously, outright mendaciously in fact. It's not the lie of the Gypsy thief with her hand in your purse, sprawled and impudent ; it's not the lie of the bureaucrat who stole from you but is pretending "mistake", feeling safe under the cover of the false impression that it's more expensive to crack his skull open than to cut your sleeve and run.ii No, it's the lie of the most miserable of all liars, the lie of they who insist they're telling the truth. It's the lie of the old hag affirming that sex is not equal to love before children young enough to buy into the sort of dumbassery ; it's the lie of the priest attempting to pass off merchandise with delivery dates set after the end of days in exchange for cash today (and don't be surprised only the poor yield of their tiny nothing to that sort of lie - that's how it's designed, to only interest them), it's the lie of parents lying to their children because it's easier, and because "they must", and because they have no alternatives and wish to make sure their children won't either.
It's a lie so prettily dolled up it reminds of those shitstains on walls, lies made to appear credible through exploiting exactly the poverty implicit in unicity, the naivite of inexperience, the natural tendency of the mind to imagine itself always in the center of the Universe, and to believe Rome is a sort of Giancalod, perhaps larger.iii
Giancaldo, the inexistent, unique townlet ; in which there's broken windows which no one broke ; in which there's paintings of a whore from two thousand years ago, married to a fool, which nevertheless is never represented sucking dicks on the side of the road for a dram of oil, neither farting, overturned in the mud, nor shitting her offspring in the stable, elbow to elbow or hoof to hoof with the cattle. No, nothing of reality makes it into the brushed fiction except for one hypostasis, the one with her face upturned as if ready to receive from the heavens a little divine sploodge on the snout.
Had Hail Mary that transposed mug ever in her entire life, that mug with which she's depicted in 97`476`763`487 cases out of 97`476`763`487 ? Possibly. Improbable, but still possible. Certainly however it's not representative for her. Representative are the other scenes, Mary stinking, Mary being filthy - if you were to run into her as she was on the street today you wouldn't ask her to come in. You'd turn your head in disgust, because the truth of poverty reeks.
The definitive dissimulation of poverty, I said. Because yes, the film raises in chisellation almost to the level of churchly lies. It's almost as mendacious as a prayer, almost as filthy as a tropariv, almost as antisocial as a priest.
A great accomplishmentv of the cinematic arts, which are in the end dissimulation from first to last.———
- 1988, by Giuseppe Tornatore, with Phillippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale. [↩]
- In Romanian, the indicated procedure when interacting with nuts. [↩]
- Amusingly, in Romanian folkloric representations, the king also lives in a peasant house, where occasionally he comes out to the pridvor (a specific sort of veranda), etc. [↩]
- Praiseful short song, it's an Orthodox thing. [↩]
- Impliniri marete is a reference in original. [↩]