In the film “Cinema Paradiso”, Toto, the main character, is a lost child without a father to provide a male role model. The story begins after Toto is informed of the death of his dearest friend, Alfredo. At this point, Toto is a mature man and a successful film director, having long ago left his home town, Giancaldo. Throughout the movie, however, Toto is a young boy with little parental support and direction.
The young Toto develops a friendship with Alfredo, the film projectionist at Giancaldo”s only cinema, the Cinema Paradiso. Alfredo takes Toto under his supervision and eventually agrees to take him as an apprentice. As Toto becomes familiar with the inside of the projection booth, he also learns about life. Alfredo becomes the father Toto has never had. “Cinema Paradiso” demonstrates, through Toto”s relationship with Alfredo, that all children need parents to guide and support them to adulthood.
The absence of parental guidance in Toto’s life has been a reoccurring theme throughout the film. While he goes to school all day, he spends his nights with Alfredo in the projection booth. Although Toto’s mother is still alive she is unable to provide him with the male role model that every small boy needs. It is as if her soul died with the disappearance of her husband, Toto’s father.
Without someone to look up to, Toto, continually gets himself into trouble.
This remains true in many families across the world, that without the ample support of both parents, many children find themselves lost.
Toto”s father leaves Italy to fight in World War II when Toto is very young and has no recollection of his father. Alfredo knows that an adult male role model is missing in Toto”s life. In one scene, in which Toto, who works also as an altar boy, walks with the village priest in the intolerably hot summer sun, Alfredo passes them on a bicycle. Because Toto is too lazy to walk back to the village, he feigns a leg injury and hitches a ride behind Alfredo. As both of them ride back to Giancaldo, Toto asks Alfredo about his father. “He was tall, thin, jolly,” Alfredo tells him, “with a nice moustache, like mine.” I like how Alfredo compares his moustache to Toto’s fathers. Its as if Alfredo knows he can be of help and guidance to the young boys life.
This could spark the concerns that Alfredo never had any children of his own to love. He goes on to say, “I always tell my children, be careful how you choose your friends.” “You haven”t got any children,” Toto retorts.
Alfredo replies, “When I do, I”ll tell them.” This scene illustrates Alfredo”s desire to become the male role model in Toto”s life. Instead of meaning his own children, Alfredo is referring to Toto. It also portrays Alfredo as a father by having Toto ride on the handle bars of the bicycle.
Throughout the film, there are many scenes containing adult males that resemble Toto’s