Guillermo del Toro and Pinocchio | The duty to disobey


Another version of the famous story by Carlo Collodi? Yes. But through the imagination of an exceptional creator like Guillermo del Toro, this Pinocchio in frame-by-frame animation (stop motion) is unlike any other. And he tells the world in his own way by making the wooden puppet a model of disobedience.

For 20 years the world has had the right to at least three film adaptations of the story that Carlo Collodi wrote in 1881. Two of these were very badly received (that of Roberto Benigni in 2002 and that of Robert Zemeckis a few years ago just months), while Matteo Garrone , more faithful to the original tale, offered in 2019 what is considered the fairest adaptation so far.

For fifteen years, Guillermo del Toro has been thinking about his version of Pinocchiothis time in the so-called animation stop motion, a craft technique which consists in making the characters move by filming them frame by frame. Although he has always started studying this approach, even earlier Chronohis first feature film, the Mexican filmmaker is directing his Pinocchio with Mark Gustafson, famous among other things thanks to the series The pajamas.

“10 years ago, I promised to focus more on animation,” explained Guillermo del Toro during a virtual press briefing during which The print he witnessed. “First of all, I have to say that animation is cinema in its own right, not just a genre. This art is also not specifically for children. It can deal with serious, profound and moving subjects. »


Guillermo del Toro worked hard to bring his Pinocchio to life.

Even stop-motion animation requires a long process because everything is physically created. The very nature of the story Pinocchio commanded this technique.

Guillermo del Toro

wartime childhood

See a little sound Pinocchio as the last part of a trilogy that began with The backbone of the devil and continued with Pan’s labyrinthtwo films at the center of which was the theme of childhood in wartime, the director transposed Collodi’s story to the beginning of the twentieth centuryAnd century. The context in which his Pinocchio evolves is first of all that of the Great War, then that of the rise of fascism in Italy with the coming to power of Benito Mussolini.

We wanted to give this story a more singular, more poignant resonance. Through Pinocchio, I wanted to illustrate the fragility of the human condition, the precious value of life. And how much we need each other.

Guillermo del Toro

“I often say that the two essential stories that defined my youth are Pinocchio And Frankenstein, he continues. That probably says a lot about my relationship with my father, but I enjoyed being thrown into a world I barely understood, trying to make sense of it. In my eyes, Pinocchio is one of those rare characters – there are maybe 10 of them in the history of mankind – capable of being universal and completely adaptable in any context. »


A scene from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

The one who, with his compatriots Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu, conquered Hollywood by imposing his own universe believes that an essential fact differentiates his adaptation from Pinocchio of all the others carried out so far: disobedience.

“Being human doesn’t mean having to change yourself or trying to change others,” she says. But try to understand. »

The first step to reaching your conscience and your soul is to disobey dogmas. This, after all, is the distinction between ideas and ideologies. An idea comes from experience, compassion and understanding. An ideology is something that you are given and told to blindly submit to.

Guillermo del Toro

A grieving man

First made by Geppetto, a man mourning his child, who died under bombs, the little wooden puppet-turned-child learns to be loved as he is, rather than trying to meet the standards expected of “good kid”. .” According to the director, therein lies the key to a script co-written with Patrick McHale, best known for writing screenplays for animated series, particularly Adventure time And Beyond the garden wall.

“We are used to seeing Pinocchio learn to obey and then let himself be transformed into a boy of flesh and blood. In our version, on the contrary, I wanted everyone around him to learn something from him, and learn to love him as he is, both Geppetto and Sebastian Grillo. We haven’t made a traditional children’s film, but the children who see it will no doubt want to discuss it! »


A scene from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Mark Gustafson and Guillermo del Toro, who claim to have worked in symbiosis (“we love each other even more at the end than at the beginning!” they say), also discussed the staging of Pinocchio as if it were a realistic film.

«It was a great challenge for the puppeteers too, because we made them move and move in the same way we would have done with human actors», says the one who, four years ago, obtained the Oscar for best director thanks to The shape of water. Pinocchio it deals with very adult themes, which bring us back to the real world, but it can also be seen in the family, because it has a lot of heart. We tried to reach the highest levels of emotion. At 58, I’m becoming increasingly aware that the only thing you do in this world is leave something behind. The rest is just faded material. I like the idea of ​​leaving something beautiful. »

Pinocchio will be released on Netflix on December 9th.


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