Old woodcarver Geppetto's puppet creation, Pinocchio, magically comes to life with dreams of becoming a real boy. Easily led astray, Pinocchio tumbles from one misadventure to another as he is tricked, kidnapped and chased by bandits.
Shot in stunning Italian locations, Matteo Garrone's rich world of mystery and wonder stars Academy Award® winning actor Roberto Benigni as Geppetto, the old woodcarver whose puppet creation, Pinocchio, magically comes to life with dreams of becoming a real boy. Easily led astray, Pinocchio (nine-year-old Federico Ielapi) tumbles from one misadventure to another as he is tricked, kidnapped and chased by bandits through a wonderful world full of imaginative creatures - from the belly of a giant fish, to the Land Of Toys and the Field Of Miracles.
After several adaptations that had made the story family-friendly, director Matteo Garrone wanted this movie to go back to the grim atmosphere and satirical tone of Carlo Collodi's original novel, complete with depictions of cruelty and extreme poverty. Garrone said that much of the criticisms of the film's violent content came from adults, while children in the test audience were quite relaxed about that aspect. See more »
When Pinocchio changes from being a donkey to puppet again, while he's swimming and talking to the circus owner, in the first three scenes, he's been shown with the hangman's noose all around his neck, but in the last time, when he says "goodbye" to him, the hangman's loose disappeared. See more »
Pinocchio fascinates filmmakers. The first atru to bring to screen Carlo Collodi's novel took place in 1936, as an animated feature, in Italy, but the first to complete the project were Walt Disney and his colleagues in 1940. Another 20 films followed, animated or with actors. The 2019 version directed by Matteo Garrone is the most recent, being released at the end of 2019. Its international distribution was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The next remake is already in preparation. Until then, audiences around the world are waiting to watch the 2019 edition of 'Pinocchio' - a film with many qualities but which will certainly not be the ultimate big screens version of the story of carpenter Geppetto and of his wooden-made son.
There are at least two possible readings of Pinocchio's story. The first is the moralistic reading that includes a few lessons that we would like to make sure as parents that they are well assimilated by our children. Attachment to parents, discipline, desire to learn, the need for tenderness - all these positive paternal values are transmitted through the elements of the fairy tale. I will call the second reading the transcendental one - it is about the desire of the animated piece of wood, carved in a talking doll by Geppetto, to become human, aspiring to the normality of a childhood like all children enjoy. Between the two feelings of Pinoccho the writer interposed the character of the fairy who appears in the key moments and who shows Pinocchio the road towards fulfilling the dream, a path that requires earning the discipline and the strength necessary to overcome all adversity. Good childhood lessons are eternal and apply at any age.
Matteo Garrone's filmography combines courageous social films related to today's realities of Italy with the exploration of classic and fantastic literature created (also) for children. 'Pinocchio' obviously belongs to the second category, but what surprised me a little is the flatness of the approach. The film looks great visually. Technology-wise this recent 'Pinocchio' is an achievement. The make-up is masterful, the costumes are very appropriate, the sets combine with elegance historical accuracy with fantastic touches, because after all we are in a fairy tale. The camera allows itself from time to time angles that reminded me of the 'Wizard of Oz'. Roberto Benigni plays an excellent role in his second 'Pinocchio', after the first one, not very successful, in 2002 in which he had assumed both film direction and the titular role. Now he has advanced in age and was promoted to make a wonderfully disturbing Geppetto. Pinocchio is played by Federico Ielapi, an 8-9 year old boy, whose make-up left only his eyes to express the range of emotions of the wooden doll who dreams of becoming a child like all the other. However, the impressive production cannot completely cover the lack of emotion or daring that would have made this 'Pinocchio' a memorable film. Lasting two hours, the film risks getting its children audiences get tired and lose focus. The mature audiences will not find enough substance to justify the effort of watching beyond the duty to accompany children or grandchildren to the cinema theaters. This 'Pinocchio' is interesting in many ways but it could have been more. The next occasion will be the animated remake of the 1940 production which is now in preparation at the Disney Studios.
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