• Golden Globe Awards

Pinocchio (Italy)

Pinocchio, written and directed by Matteo Garrone, is based on the 1883 Italian children classic The Adventure of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.  The familiar story, popularized worldwide by the Disney cartoon of 1940, is retold with renewed accuracy to the original version.  Impoverished carpenter Geppetto (Roberto Benigni) carves a magical piece of wood into a puppet, which is able to walk and talk. Elated about becoming a dad, he pawns his coat during the cold winter to buy his son a spelling book, but the naughty boy skips school and sells the book to buy a ticket to an itinerant marionette show.
The fearsome but kind-hearted puppet master, Mangiafoco gives the boy five gold coins to bring back to his father.  Along the way Pinocchio encounters a pair of con artists, the Cat and the Fox, who convince him to plant the coins in a miraculous field, to grow a tree of gold pieces, multiplying his fortune.  He ignores the advice of the ghost of Jiminy Cricket, and gets into more trouble, before being he’s rescued by the young Blue Fairy. However, every time he lies to her, his wooden nose grows longer.
She sets him on the right path again, sending him to school, but Pinocchio is tempted by the tales of his schoolmate Lucignolo and follows him to Pleasure island, where he’s turned into a donkey. More adventures bring Pinocchio inside the mouth of a giant whale, where he is reunited with Geppetto. After they manage to escape, father and son work hard in the fields, until the Blue Fairy, now a grown woman, rewards the “good boy” by turning Pinocchio into in a flesh and blood child.
Garrone, who directed the crime dramas Gomorrah and Dogman, says that he wanted to help children rediscover this timeless masterpiece of Italian literature and take adults on a trip back in time to their childhood. He drew the first storyboard of Pinocchio when he was 6-years-old, so this book has been with him his entire life. He says he was inspired by the amazing original drawings by Enrico Mazzanti, as well as by the 1972 television miniseries directed by Luigi Comencini with Nino Manfredi playing Geppetto. The moral of the story is to warn children about the dangers and the violence of the outside world, teaching them about human weaknesses and contractions, and encouraging them to stay vigilant.  
Roberto Benigni, who played Pinocchio in the 2002 film version that he directed, says that he loved this fantastic book as a child, this fairytale was like the Gospel to him – Geppetto being like Saint Joseph, the archetypical father.  At first he was tempted to employ comedy gags, but followed the director’s instructions of making his portrayal full of happiness and wonder, sorrow and love.