… In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and theirselves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.
– Mr. Willis’s testimony is not only vague, it is unsubstantiated. The substance I was looking for, Mr. Simms, was to come from you.
+ I’m sorry.
– I’m sorry too, Mr. Simms, because you know what I’m going to do, in as much as I can’t punish Mr. Havemeyer, Mr. Potter or Mr. Jameson ? And I won’t punish Mr. Willis. He’s the only party to this incident… who is still worthy of calling himself a Baird man. I’m going to recommend to the Disciplinary Committee… that you be expelled.
Mr. Simms, you are a cover-up artist… and you are a liar.
= But not a snitch !
– Excuse me ?
=No, I don’t think I will. Mr. Slade. This is such a crock of shit !
– Please watch your language, Mr. Slade. You are in the Baird school, not a barracks.
Mr. Simms, I will give you one final opportunity to speak up.
= Mr. Simms doesn’t want it. He doesn’t need to be labeled… “still worthy of being a Baird man.”
What the hell is that ? What is your motto here ?
“Boys, inform on your classmates, save your hide; anything short of that, we’re gonna burn you at the stake” ?
Well, gentlemen, when the shit hits the fan, some guys run…and some guys stay.
Here’s Charlie facin’ the fire, and there’s George…hidin’ in big daddy’s pocket.
And what are you doin’ ? You’re gonna reward George… and destroy Charlie.
-Are you finished, Mr. Slade ?
=No, I’m just gettin’ warmed up. I don’t know who went to this place. William Howard Taft, William Jennings Bryant,
William Tell, whoever. Their spirit is dead, if they ever had one. It’s gone.
You’re buildin’ a rat ship here, a vessel for seagoin’ snitches. And if you think you’re preparin’ these minnows for manhood, you better think again, because I say you are killin’ the very spirit… this institution proclaims it instills.
What a sham.
What kind of a show are you guys puttin’ on here today ?
I mean, the only class in this act is sittin’ next to me.
I’m here to tell you this boy’s soul is intact.
You know how I know ?
Someone here, and I’m not gonna say who, offered to buy it.
Only Charlie here wasn’t sellin’.
– Sir, you’re out of order.
= I show you out of order. You don’t know what out of order is, Mr. Trask. I’d show you, but I’m too old, I’m too tired, too fuckin’ blind. If I were the man I was five years ago, I’d take… a flamethrower to this place !
Out of order ? Who the hell you think you’re talkin’ to ? I’ve been around, you know ?
There was a time I could see. And I have seen. Boys like these… younger than these, their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. But there is nothin’ like the sight… of an amputated spirit. There is no prosthetic for that.
You think you’re merely sendin’ this splendid foot soldier… back home to Oregon with his tail between his legs,
but I say you are… executin’ his soul !
And why Because he’s not a Baird man.
You hurt this boy, you’re gonna be Baird bums, the lot of you.
And, Harry, Jimmy, Trent, wherever you are out there, fuck you too !
– Stand down, Mr. Slade !
= I’m not finished. As I came in here, I heard those words: “cradle of leadership.”
Well, when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, and it has fallen here. It has fallen. Makers of men, creators of leaders. Be careful what kind of leaders you’re producin’ here. I don’t know if Charlie’s silence here today… is right or wrong; I’m not a judge or jury. But I can tell you this: he won’t sell anybody out… to buy his future !
And that, my friends, is called integrity. That’s called courage. Now that’s the stuff leaders should be made of.
Now I have come to the crossroads in my life. I always knew what the right path was. Without exception, I knew,
but I never took it. You know why ? It was too damn hard.
Now here’s Charlie. He’s come to the crossroads. He has chosen a path. It’s the right path. It’s a path made of principle… that leads to character.
Let him continue on his journey. You hold this boy’s future in your hands, Committee. It’s a valuable future, believe me.
Don’t destroy it. Protect it. Embrace it.
It’s gonna make you proud one day, I promise you.
” Once upon a time, a king gave a feast. And there came the most beautiful princesses of the realm. Now, a soldier, who was standing guard, saw the king’s daughter go by. She was the most beautiful one, and he immediately fell in love with her. But what could a poor soldier do when it came to the daughter of the king?
Well, finally, one day, he managed to meet her, and he told her that he could no longer live without her. The princess was so impressed by his strong feelings that she said to the soldier: “If you can wait 100 days and 100 nights under my balcony, then at the end of it, I shall be yours.” Damn! The soldier immediately went there and waited one day. And two days. And ten. And then twenty. And every evening, the princess looked out of her window, but he never moved. During rain, during wind, during snow, he was always there. The bird shat on his head, and the bees stung him, but he didn’t budge. After ninety nights, he had become all dried up, all white, and the tears streamed from his eyes. He couldn’t hold them back. He no longer had the strength to sleep. All that time, the princess watched him. And on the 99th night, the soldier stood up, took his chair, and went away.”
Nuovo cinema Paradiso is a 1988 Italian film written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. It was internationally released as Cinema Paradiso in France, Spain, the UK and the U.S.
It was originally released in Italy at 155 minutes but poor box office performance in its native country led to it being shortened to 123 minutes for international release. It was an instant success. This international version won the Special Jury Prize at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival and the 1989 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. In 2002, the director’s cut 173-minute version was released (known in the U.S. as Cinema Paradiso: The New Version). source: Wikipedia
Written and Directed by: Giuseppe Tornatore