Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Pinocchio’ recaptures old world of craftsmanship and art


By Gabriela Acosta, MWN

Guillermo del Toro is ready for the premiere of ‘Pinocchio’ — a new version that fills him with pride.

Pinocchio‘ — set to premiere on Netflix on Dec. 9 — has become one of del Toro’s most time-consuming projects, and the one he is most proud of, not only because it is animation, but because it shows dark and bright sides with this new adaptation.

“I wanted this film to land in a way that had the expressiveness and material nature of a handmade piece of animation, beautiful craftsmanship, from carving, painting, sculpting, but with the sophistication of movement that research into puppet making has led us to,” he said. “In terms of scale, we use different sizes of puppets for different needs. [That is?] for Pinocchio to interact with the cricket, to get the size right. We needed the cricket and Pinocchio’s shoulder, talking to him, whispering in his ear, lying close to him. So, we used this big Pinocchio, this little cricket. And then, in certain shots, we use this little Pinocchio. 

“Pinocchio is a tale that has lived through the centuries, a fable very close to my heart. And we are very sure that this incarnation is particularly beautiful.”

Del Toro expressed excitement when talking about this story that “we live in that moment when you look at something fantastic, and immediately think, ‘it was made on the computer.’ We want to recapture that old world in craftsmanship, art, sizes and logistics. Well, I say and I’ll repeat myself for a moment, but the two essential fables that define my childhood and adolescence were Pinocchio and Frankenstein. And this may tell you something about my relationship with my dad.”

The Mexican filmmaker also revealed that the little wooden boy has different sides: “I always felt, that Pinocchio is a handful of characters, there are maybe 10 characters in the history of human narratives that are capable of being universal and totally adaptable to anything. There’s Frankenstein, Pinocchio, Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, those characters that, even if you haven’t read the story, you know the story, or think you know.”

The dark and even a bit childish spirit continues to fill the film director with concerns: “I am 58 years old and I have a lot of things to tell. Pinocchio shows a part of me, as well as how precious and fragile we are as humans, and how much we need each other. Pinocchio talks about obedience, but ours is about disobedience. Disobedience is a primary factor in becoming human and how becoming human does not mean changing, but pure understanding. I think the first step towards consciousness and soul for me, is disobedience.”

“The key to making a new Pinocchio is to know who he is, when I saw the drawing that expressed rebelliousness and an undomesticated essence, it was the perfect form for the beginning. Pinocchio is curious, but rebellious, something casually cruel, casually also inquisitive.”