In 1989, Giuseppe Tornatore‘s “Cinema Paradiso” took the cinema world by storm. The film, about a boy named Toto who begins a lifelong love affair with movies thanks to a Sicilian movie house, won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival that year. It then went on to win Best Foreign Film at The Oscars that winter. To this day, it remains a beloved film about the power of film for a generation of moviegoers.
Now, Tornatore looks to recapture that movie’s magic by turning it into a limited TV series. Variety reports that Tornatore and producer Marco Belardi are working on the six-episode series through Belardi’s brand-new Bamboo Production. Belardi also may have a stateside distribution deal already in the works, as he’s talked with an unspecified US streamer to help produce.
According to Belardi, the upcoming series “will be the same story of the film, but in expanded form with various different narrative strands.” Tornatore is writing the treatment and the show’s pilot now, with the plan for the show to be ready for a 2023 release. So, what are the new narrative strands the series will weave into the “Cinema Paradiso” tapestry? Belardi offered some clues: “the strength of a mother, the solidarity of a friend, sex as a taboo, forced relocations, eloping, and marked social difference.” The backstories of characters who live in the Sicilian village of Giancaldo will also be fleshed out.
So is it Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, or Apple TV+? Maybe Hulu or Mubi? It’s anyone’s guess, but the safe one might be Netflix. Belardi said that Bamboo recently inked a multi-picture deal to produce two or three Italian-language original films for the streamer. Belardi also wants to create a documentary about how Tornatore first conceived of “Cinema Paradiso,” but that project doesn’t have the green light yet.
So, will Tornatore’s update to “Cinema Paradiso” win over a new generation of cinephiles? He and Belardi sound confident that the show will release in 2023, so audiences will find out soon.