Director and co-writer Matteo Garrone embraces the grotesqueness and sentimentality of Collodi’s 1883 story, in which CGI enhances Pinocchio’s woodiness
There is something rich and strange and generous in Matteo Garrone’s new live-action version of the Pinocchio story, for which the director and his co-screenwriter Massimo Ceccherini have gone back to the original 1883 children’s tale by Carlo Collodi. They have given us a story which combines sentimentality and grotesqueness in a very startling way. It often looks like a horror film. This Pinocchio could almost have been one of the stories that Garrone dramatised in his freaky-fabular movie Tale of Tales, and the story is very different from the legendary 1940 Disney musical version (without which, admittedly, no one would care about any new remake or reinvention).
Walt Disney, for example, never had Pinocchio being brutally hanged from a tree by two swindlers who wanted to rob him. But one of the interesting things about this drama is that Pinocchio – the magical wooden puppet who yearns to be a “real boy” – gains this authentic humanness by being exploited, by suffering and finally getting re-born with skin and hair … in a stable, as it happens.