I was attracted to Baaría – as it was directed by Giuseppe Tornatore – the sentimental director of Cinema Paradiso. As an added bonus, Ennio Morricone, the composer of the Cinema Paradiso soundtrack, also collaborated with him in this movie.
Of the movies that Tornatore has made, I’ve only seen two so far: Cinema Paradiso and The Legend of 1900 – both carry the same nostalgic thread of the gentler old times through the eyes of a child. Tornatore is unashamedly romantic and there’s nothing wrong with that if you can create beautiful cinematic works with the gift. In Baaría, he traces the steps of Peppino Torrenuova (Francesco Scianna), a Sicilian boy who grew up from simple upbringing in 1920s into a young man dabbling in communism and then becomes a politician at the end in the town of Bagheria. The movie is epic – it spans around sixty years where the passing of time is denoted by a fade-out and changes in the character’s faces. Family is a central theme in this movie – his father and mother and older brother Nino – and subsequently his own family – his wife Mannina (Margareth Madé) and the three children. Similar to Cinema Paradiso, Tornatore reflects on the changes in society in an almost lamenting tone – as a viewer you almost wish that the town would stay the same in its simple, idyllic ways.
Different to the style that Tornatore used in his previous movies, he started to mix fantasy in his storyline. Although the liberal use of timeline may confuse some viewers, if you go along with it and get the real theme of the movie, it ends up a fantastic touching treat. Morricone’s music also complements the sentimentality of the movie with the soaring orchestral composition.If you love Cinema Paradiso, it’s a good chance that you will also love Baaría – there is even a similar scene in the movie when Pietro, Peppino’s son looks through some movie reel cuttings and recites the title of the movies.
Baaría is a wonderful 150-minute cinematic journey. If you allow yourself to be swept away, the final scene may even make you shed a tear or two.