Cinema Paradiso : Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

If not, who is it else?

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

you are led to believe that, but after the final scene Toto realises that Alfredo was his true friend

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Nope. I'm with the original poster. Its not up for someone to make life changing decisions for someone else..

Spoilers below......








Salvatore never finds true love and would have definitely sacrificed his career for Elena.
Weirdly its this plot that makes this the greatest film of all time

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

I guess the ending with him watching the kissing scenes in the cinema tells us that really Toto's true love was the cinema so maybe Alfredo was right all along.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Hence the reason it's a bad film. It proposes a philosophy that's entirely vulgar and bogus. You must sacrifice human love, in order to create great art? Give me a break.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

"You must sacrifice human love, in order to create great art? Give me a break."

While you obviously disagree with that, it may not sound bogus to everyone else.

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Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Exactly.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Liked the flick but this thing was entirely over rated.

Critics must be suckers for foreign accents...and obvious humor.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

What version did you see?
The director's cut with all the reinstated scenes that were originally cut out kinda drags towards the end.

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Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

I don't think that the movie is intended to teach us that we have to sacrifice love to create great art. If you look at it in a historical context, the movies that were made during the time that Toto would have been directing are considered to be pretty terrible altogether. He decided that he wanted to make these movies, and they end up destroying Italian cinema (look at the movie posters in the Nuovo Cinema Paradiso as Toto walks through it right before it is torn down). In the end, when Toto is watching the gift that Alfredo gave him, he realizes that he helped cause the destruction of the Cinema Paradiso. Alfredo's gift showed Toto what it was that these films were missing. They lacked the love and connection of two people, and the real human emotions. I think Alfredo is the hero of the movie for finally showing him that at the end.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

I believe that perhaps you must be ascribing things to the subtext that really aren't meant to be considered but that is just my opinion. I thought it was fairly plain as to what created the death of the theater and I don't believe that it was a lack of quality pictures. Modernity was pointed to as the culprit.

My take was that Alfredo was showing Toto what he was really cut out for and that was a long and healthy line of intimate encounters...as well as success in the field that he loved. Toto was fortunate enough to experience these emotions with more than his fair share and Alfredo, I believe, was making that crystal clear for him.

Alfredo is definitely the hero but I don't agree that it was for the reasons that you cited.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Elena told Toto that his movies were great, and that it would have been a crime if he hadn't made them. He could have had two loves, but due to Alfredo's meddling, he only had one. His heartbreak led him to make great art.

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You'll Never Walk Alone

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Alfredo had been down the same path Toto was on. Toto certainly has the decision to himself, but Alfredo wanted Toto to explore the world and live the life he never had the chance to even capture. You can call it selfish, but he didn't want another strong soul to just stay put. The ultimate call rest on Toto.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

I agree. But I think you oughta adjust your expectations before watching a movie like this. It's supposed to be sentimental and "poetic".

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Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

I'm with you on this as well. To deny the kid the truth and making his own choices, undermines any affection the old man supposedly has for Salvatore. Who the hell does the pathetic old fart think he is by screwing around with someones life in such a profound manner?

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

come on now....


This is a "class/social" thing here...

Alfredo was correct to think that the relationship would not work out... they came from two totally different classes; in addition to the fact that young relationships don't often work out...


I think Alfredo clearly did what he thought was best for toto..

the fact of the matter is that it was a double edged sword... without success the two would have never been able to make it work... and without the lie he might have never found success...

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Great post. Alfredo made a logical choice. Let's not forget that Elena didn't come to the window, as Toto wanted her to prove her love. In that sense, Alfredo making a choice for Toto is not selfish at all. He advised him to leave to forget his heartbreak, and forge a successful life for himself in a big city.

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You'll Never Walk Alone

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Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Movies, like all art, can be highly interpretive but where does this notion of an "evil Alfredo" come from?

Never did I get that notion about his character. I suppose I missed what the director and writers were attempting to establish but ultimately, I suppose I was also not duped.

If a guy is so self absorbed as to never visit his home in three decades even though he lived an hour away by plane, one could hardly designate Alfredo as the evil one here.....

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

"Hence the reason it's a bad film. It proposes a philosophy that's entirely vulgar and bogus. You must sacrifice human love, in order to create great art? Give me a break."

To quote Orson Welles in "The Third Man": "In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

lol, that made me laugh pretty good.

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Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?


In Switzerland they had brotherly love -they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.


Cuckoo clocks are from Germany, not Switzerland. (I've seen that movie and I remember that quote. Apparently the screenwriter didn't do research).

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

I really don't see Alfredo as a villain, I tend to think of him more as a kind of "Ogre Father." He pushes Toto, essentially a sort of adopted son, away from one love and towards another. In this sense, he causes Toto pain, but at the same time allows Toto to realize a potential far greater than anything he could find in their small town.

Had Toto stayed, he would have known romantic love with Elena, but he would have remained "in a box," in the tiny cage that was this small town. I think Alfredo saw greater things in Toto, a potential that couldn't be realized in such a small box. And he certainly saw that Toto's first, greatest love was film, even if Toto was too young to realize it at the time. I think it's pretty significant that Alfredo says to Toto, at the train station, to do what he loves:

"Whatever you end up doing, love it. The way you loved the projection booth when you were a little squirt."

Alfredo may not have much education, but here I read him as having the wisdom of age. He sees that Toto is in a difficult situation - does Toto stay behind and pursue romance, or leave this small world and stretch his potential (and his love of film) to greater heights? And that's why I think Alfredo is an "Ogre Father" - he's old enough (and wise enough) to see the potential and love for film in Toto that Toto himself is perhaps too young to see. Alfredo may have to cause pain to Toto by forcing him to choose. But no matter what Toto chose, he would have sacrificed something. Alfredo forces Toto to give up his innocence, the way an Ogre Father would, but at the same time opens up a whole new world for Toto that allowed him to realize an even greater potential.

To Alfredo, and I think to Toto at the end when he sees the montage, there is a realization that, even though the love and pursuit of film required the personal sacrifice of Elena (and the small town), the "choice" yielded great rewards and allowed Toto to fall in love with film over and over again through the course of his life. And, that love blossomed with as much power as anything he could have had with Elena. Toto was always going to the movies, even as a "little squirt," and I think Alfredo believed this was Toto's true calling and first love. If this is a story about falling in love with film, and about the passion it can bring to someone, I think the final scene encapsulates that beautifully.

As I read the ending, Toto sees a montage that fully reminds him that film is his first love and his true love. He may have regrets over losing Elena, and in that case Alfredo may have been the cause of great pain to him, but at the same time Alfredo led him to something wonderful as well. The final scene is as close as you can get to the final powerful on-screen kiss between a couple - Toto is sharing a romantic, intimate moment with his first and true love. He smiles, and he cries, all his passions coming to the forefront as he realizes both the sacrifice and the joy of being in love with the movies for his whole life.
And, he comes full circle; All of the love of film he had during his youth is reignited - he is reminded of Alfredo, his guide and friend, and he recalls the projection booth where he helped edit out these very scenes (hence, the space where he created some of his dearest memories). In a way, I see it as a powerful epiphany, as every single wonderful memory he has had in relation to the movies comes flooding back. His love of film - a love he experienced in past and present - is condensed into a single montage, like the way lifelong love is compressed into a single kiss.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

To Obsidian451

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for one of the BEST reviews I have ever read on this site. This is a film that I love, and you "hit it on the head" with your great review.

When I saw the topic "Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever? I thought "Are these people crazy?" This movie is on my ALL TIME top 5 list. If you have never lost "the love (woman) of your life", and carried that hurt with you for many years, you might never understand the impact this film has on me. I too, prefer the Directors Cut of this film.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

I agree, Obsidian nailed it, you said it like I would never have been able to. To sum it up, Alfredo makes a great father figure, he gives Toto not what he wants, but what he needs.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Sorry that I am replying 5 years later. But this movie for me is the defining movie of the 20th century. I wonder how you are feeling about this now?

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Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

I agree with Obsidian and would like to add that in the extended version Elena also explains why they are not to see each other again.
Had he stayed in the village, they would have been together but that love would have become tainted at some point. A couple goes through many things, they can hurt each other but the way it ended with them left that memory pure. when they see each other by the pier and make love it's just the one missing thing they had to complete their love. It's perfect.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Wow, that was some explanation. I agree, one of the best I've ever read on here.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Obsidian451 you're the best! After reading OP's post I wanted to write something but I could never do it as amazingly as you did. Thank you!

Alfredo is more like a father figure to toto, he knew what was best for toto so he did the best thing ever. Why did he do it? You can never explain the weird things a father does for his son.

Kissing montage is the best part of the movie and the best ending I've seen in any movie ever. Every time I watch the movie all the memories of toto's childhood, first love, pain, fun time and everything gets into me, may be because I've spent a childhood almost the same. And during the kissing montage I felt like all those feelings and memories coming back, sort of felt the same toto would feel which is why I knew why he was smiling, why he was crying and why alfredo saved the films for him. It's the best gift a father could give toto who's first love is cinema. Kissing montage is my most favorite part of the movie, the second most favorite part is the new year eve oh and the music!

Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever? I disagree, Alfredo is the best character ever. If you didn't understand it, either you were sleeping during the whole movie or the whole movie went over your head or may be you didn't watch the directors cut. In either case I recommend you watch the directors cut again in a room/theatre which is disconnected from any disturbance and you watch the movie with your heart.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

My perspective about the movie is that Alfredo saw himself in Toto. In somewhere in the film, I thought Alfredo said about his love of the movies from very early age. He saw that love in Toto also. He saw Toto's joy of merely projecting movies to people. He didn't want that Toto would also end up imprisoned in the small town like him, so he did what he had to do, even though it meant Alfredo had to lost Toto, a very charming companion, for the rest of his life. So no, Alfredo was not a villain.. rather, he was closer to a Hero.

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Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

"It probably wouldn't have mattered if he was never born at all. "

I think the same could be said about you, me and everyone else who has ever existed.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?


That's incredibly true, Alfredo was in part responsible for ruining Toto's life by encouraging his material greed and obsession with the cinema. Watching some actors on screen having a make-believe experience when you no longer can experience anything for yourself... I think Toto was a coward who kept on hiding in imaginary worlds to cope with losses in his own life.

Look at him, abandons his mother and friends for 30 whole years, he's left with no prospects of real love forever, no family, no kids. A life spent as a spectator of other people's lives and he wouldn't even know it.

It probably wouldn't have mattered if he was never born at all. It's questionable would he have even known what it is and how to maintain a real life relationship outside the confinements of a two hour long talkie? That might as well explain his pathological social dysfunction in adult life.

Overall, this is the kind of movie that makes sane people despise the very existence of cinema and throw away their TVs just to save themselves. Very overrated, sentimentally pretentious but emotionally crippled little flick. I recommend it only for people who "live" in movies, shouldn't be in top 100 by a long, long shot. More like bottom 100
.


You seem mildly upset. Hit the showers.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

It's actually quite a coherent assessment which speaks a lot of truth, s/he's altogether too hard on the movie of course, not liking a message and a movie being bad are not the same thing, but it was an interesting analysis nonetheless.

Thank you for quoting the post as I note the original was deleted, censorship of this kind is regrettable.

Against the faint background of reality, imagination spins out and weaves new patterns

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Re: Obsidian's comments + mine re: film message

IMO, Obsidian451's comments on the motives delineated in the CP narrative are very good.

But additionally, there are quite a few characters in CP that are following an "either/or" or a "one at the expense of another" type of inner guiding, self-fulfilling principle, and the longer (original), director's cut version shows the outcomes of being guided by such a principle or "compass"-- (e.g., not only Alfredo & Toto but the priest & his insistence on deleting kissing scenes, the movie goer who often spits on others, her parents treatment of Elena, the nun-teacher who hits students, etc.)

Many people see and live their lives yoked to such guiding principles; in better forms, e.g., when one person profits, they always share with others.

But in more primitive, limiting forms, some people see life as constantly demanding responses of revenge or retaliation so, if someone else profits, it must've somehow deliberately been at their expense; or, if someone hurts me or mine, they must be hurt back. Toto's grade school teacher probably followed some similar principle: 'if you didn't learn the correct answer to what 5 X 5 equals, you must be doing it to hurt me, so I'll hurt you back.'

AND, there are certainly decisions that one makes in life in which by choosing one path, one gives up the possibility of taking another. The choice between making a life career in the military service vs. being a profesional ballet dancer is possibly one although certainly a colonel or sargeant could attend some ballets or collect and watch movies of them.

Alfredo was obviously living by a rule something like: 'IF you go into something you love, you MUST absolutely give up ALL other loves' --and, equally obviously, he influenced Toto into doing likewise:

So, IF Toto was to make something of himself (we saw in grade school he was obviously quite bright) he MUST do it at the expense of any further warm relations with Alfredo, or in visiting Toto's home town to see his friends, his mother, sister & her kids, or any contact with Elena. It's apparently Alfredo's/Toto's rule that if you get the one thing you most want, it must be at the price of giving up satisfactions or pleasures from all other really significant wants.

BUT, life does NOT have to be that way -- UNLESS we CHOOSE to make it our own internal law and insist on it.

COULD Toto have been a successful film director AND returned to visit friends and relatives? OR, was it impossible for him to have found love among other women he dated and bedded, and raise a family with one of them, while being successful?

Yes, it IS impossible IF HE SEES it as impossible. (But not if he doesn't -- after all, many people before him have shown they CAN walk AND chew gum at the same time.)

COULD Elena have found some means of communicating with Toto beyond writing her address on the back of a small piece of paper and posting it among hundreds of other similar papers on a wall? Never!!-- if SHE'S also following some self-defeating inner guiding principle.

So, IMO, while the extended, director's cut, original version of "Cinema Paradiso" is sadly, broadly representative of SOME lives, it's NOT the rule or model by which ALL of us HAVE to live our lives.

And, quite importantly, since CP's director, Giuseppe Tornatore, also wrote the CP screenplay (in his thirties, IIRC), the CP narrative HAS to have a number of autobiographical features, doesn't it? A successful film director writing the screen play about the early and later life of a successful film director and NOT including something of his own life? Not very likely.

I'm VERY curious as to what significant experiences in HIS life, what were HIS losses and gains that his narrative of "Cinema Paradiso" apologizes or atones for. I'm sure "CP" is so much more representative of HIS view of HIS life experiences than it is of life in general. (While that's true, come to think of it, there is the possibility that CP's narrative was intended to be a message to an Elena in his earlier life.)

P.S. -- Unfortunately, I couldn't find out much about this director. Wikipedia has a brief article on him but it lacks any details about his personal life. And I saw nothing in IMDb about his personal life.

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Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

I disagree with this whole thread except for the OP and WithNail--

You can say all you want about Alfredo, but he purposely screwed with Toto.

Toto survived IN SPITE of Alfredo, not because of Alfredo.

The end montage was symbolically telling Toto to get back to real life and live that life fully. Elena was the symbol of that lost opportunity.

Toto can now make great movies AND try to live a fulfilling life outside of film. The love of movies reminded him that emotions are real.

But, back to topic, Alfredo only saw the potential of Toto. Toto would have poured himself into film or Elena. If he poured himself into Elena, they probably would have had a passionate marriage and he would have been a sorry film maker. Instead, he became a great film maker, but had no personal life. That is a success? Nope, true love for a person should trump over true love for cinema.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?


The end montage was symbolically telling Toto to get back to real life and live that life fully. Elena was the symbol of that lost opportunity.

Toto can now make great movies AND try to live a fulfilling life outside of film. The love of movies reminded him that emotions are real.


Exactly that! Maybe Alfredo thought Toto would've seen the montage much sooner, but since he returned 30 years later any chance with Elena was lost. Alfredo thought that Toto had to make that crucial step in his life at that particular moment he left in his late teens. Elena was what was holding him back and Alfredo saw that.


Nope, true love for a person should trump over true love for cinema.


I agree. I do think that Toto could've had Elena and become a great director, though obviously not at that time in his teens. He needed some time apart, but it was Toto's own fault he stayed away from the village for 30 years. He had become a successful director and moved with the film-crowd. He had forgotten who he was back in the village and became a different person (even changing his name) who was probably quite selfish. When you he was told of Alfredo's death by his girlfriend, the memories started flooding back. Visiting the village was also visiting his past life and the character he new, almost like a spiritual journey. In the end that's who Toto really was - the boy from the village in Sicily, not the successful Rome-based film director. Despite him having fame and acclaim as a director he obviously has regrets. "Bloody Alfredo" was how he referred to him when being told by Elena.

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Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

But in the Director's Cut it is obvious, that Toto WASN'T HAPPY!!! So cinema couldnt be his true love!!! And thats a fact.

Because he lost his love. He says to Helena, that he searched her in every woman. And he wanted to be with her and she wanted to be with him. He is devastated and tries be with Elena, but she tells for him: we have no future, just past, and yesterday night was a dream.

So we can be very clever saying that Alfredo knwe that cineam was his biggest love, but the characters themselves say that they needed each other in their entire life but all is lost now.

When Toto is back to Rome at the end and his collegues tell him that his new film is a success, he IS SAD, and he doesnt give a crap about his film after that he realizes, that that were a chance and his lady loved him back then, but fate tore them apart.

Even Alfredo couldnt, because Elena chose to leave a message to him.

So I think cinema was a very important thing in his life, but Helena was the most important! It is too sentimental to assume that only 1 thing he can choose: cinema or love. There are countless examples of the opposite. That man/women in love are succesful artist.

It is a very sentimental and very good film, but for just one reason: waking huge emotions and lost in the story for 3 hours. But in real life it could have been more simple.

1. Elena promises that she will be at 17hour at Cparadiso.

2. Toto waits for her, she doesnt come. Toto drives to her, she is not there, she is with Alfredo. Alfredo tries convince her, but she leaves a message for Toto and leaves. Toto arrives, Alfredo tells, she wasnt there.

3. AND HERE COMES THE REAL LIFE PART:... When Elena leaves a message just sticked to the wall, she MUST have known, that maybe this was not enough. She must have been 100% that Toto gets the message.

4. So when she leaves to Tuscany with her family (if I remember correctly) she sends a message to Toto's mother to their hometown. AND THATS IT FOLKS!!!!!

5. Within 1 or 2 weeks Toto gets the message, even he is in the army.

6. Toto gets mail from his mother that Elena wrote him, Toto wrotes back to his mother to write to Elena or send his sister to meet Elena with Toto' message in case Elena's family doesnt give Toto's letter to her.

7. Elena waits for Toto until he is in the army, and when he leaves they can live together in Rome and Toto can be a succesfull AND HAPPY MAN.

End of story. So Elena must have known that one little paper on the wall is not so safe for leaving life-changing important message!!!

If You are in love and you really are, you dont let your love go just so easy. You write letters, try to stay in contact, ask questions, go to each others place, talk to realtives, friends, etc, you fight for your love, not just give up after one little failure (he/she doesnt answer one little message).

Me and my girlfriend, we were a very deep emotional crisis and we didnt let fate/friends/life/etc to intervene. We kept each other in our hearts and didnt let each other go just for it was very hard. Because we knew we are real mates. After a little time, we searched each other and started talking again. We are together know, but easily we could have been split up very very easily. But we didnt let it.

It would have been way better film with a way way better message, if it was about Toto's love for cinema and fight for each other with his woman AND at the end Toto and Elena could have been watching TOGETHER the montage beeing thankful for Alfredo and for their lives.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?


"If not, who is it else?"

Not sure, but there are plenty of movie characters who break up relationships for their own selfish reasons (i.e. to get with one half of the couple) and NOT for the presumed benefit of the couple themselves. They are more evil than Alfredo.

Toto never found real love after Elena...but how was Alfredo to know that? In fact, it was almost as much Toto's fault as it was Alfredo's. A man in Toto's position would have met many eligible bachelorettes, they can't all have been gold-digging, casting-couch hopping starlets. He wasn't pining for Elena all this time either; I doubt he even thought of her much until he heard Alfredo had died.

Not saying what Alfredo did was right, just that Toto cannot blame his entire loneliness on this one twist in life.

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Challenging Endeavours: A tale of two shuttles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-8CR6i5a5Y

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Not true that Toto never found real love after Elena. His real love was the movies! Alfredo knew that even before Toto did.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

What??

If anything Alfredo was like the father her never had and Toto was like the son he never had.

What a beautiful relationship they had.

You know what the Queen said? If I had balls, I'd be King.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

Why on earth would you think this? Because Alfredo told Toto to leave? He did this purely out of love. He saw the genius within Toto, and knew it'd be squandered if Toto stayed. Sending him away was an act of love, and judging by Toto's reaction at the station, he knew this was the case. The family leaving for Germany was more important than it perhaps seemed, as this showed a general feeling of hopelessness and lack of opportunity for those who stayed.

Re: Is Alfredo the most evil movie villain ever?

First of all, I saw the Director's Cut yesterday at night, and I loved the movie. I expect to see the Theatrical Cut in a few weeks.

From my point of view, Alfredo's intention was that Salvatore do not have attachments to his old town and the persons he knew and go pursuing his goals.

In this case, Alfredo can be viewed as a person who do not wanted that Salvatore has the same destiny than him, so he encourages Elena to stop see him. Probably he saw that their love was mainly idealized.

IMO.



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