Breath-taking sunsets on the white sandy beach, the Norman architecture of the town centre, the mysterious landscapes on the sides of the Madonie: Cefalù is one of those places the film industry fell in love with since the first international shootings.
The interest of video cameras for this Sicilian town has lived through film history from the 20s to the present day.
The first film set in Cefalù dates back to 1921: its name is La Croce di Grottamarina, by Totò Lo Bue, with Lina Eos and Franco Celli playing the role of the protagonists. Today, only few frames have survived and have been restored with the aim of capturing pictures of Cefalù in the 20s.
In 1955 the Club Mediterranée, a luxury tourist resort which has recently been renovated and belonging to the great, well-known French hotel chain, became the background for a new Italian film.
The setting of Magic Village (Italian title: Vacanze d’amore), starring Lucia Bosè, Walter Chiari and a cameo by singer Domenico Modugno, includes mainly the Santa Lucia promontory on which the resort is built, with a short excursion to the main square with shots of the Cathedral.
In 1967 an entire film crew moved again to Sicily to shoot We still kill the old way (original title: A ciascuno il suo), based on the novel To Each His Own by Leonardo Sciascia. Directed by Elio Petri, the film features Gian Maria Volontè and Irene Papas.
It is in 1990, though, that the whole world gets to lay its eyes on the beauty of Cefalù. It’s an Oscar-winning city because of the film shot there: Cinema Paradiso (Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, in Italian), directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, that year.
The historic centre of Cefalù became the protagonist of a German film which was never released in Italy: Mario and the Magician (German: Mario und der Zauberer; Italian: Mario e il Mago), based on the novel by Thomas Mann.
Other films in which the town of Cefalù appears are La Selvaggia (1955); Occhi sul mare (1959); Love Meetings ( Comizi d’amore, 1963); My Darling Slave (La schiava io ce l’ho e tu no, 1972); Waves of Lust (Ondata di piacere, 1975); Occhio Nero, Occhio Biondo, Occhio Felino (1984); The Wedding Director (Il regista di matrimoni, 2005); Every Blessed Day (Tutti i santi giorni; 2012).
Altri titoli in cui compare la cittadina di Cefalù sono La Selvaggia, 1955; Occhi sul mare, 1959; Comizi d’amore, 1963; La schiava, io ce l’ho e tu no, 1972; Ondata di piacere, 1975; Occhio Nero, Occhio Biondo, Occhio Felino, 1984; Il regista di matrimoni, 2005; Tutti i santi giorni; 2012.