Guillermo del Toro always knew he wanted to do something like Pinocchio as a stop-motion film. The medium made a puppet from the imagination in which he dreamed of making a film that was hacked 30 years ago by a burglary and a vandal that literally took away his dreams. His version of Pinocchio would give him a chance to explore what he saw as the sacred connection between puppets and animators through the mysterious hands-on techniques of stopping motion.
But even he knew that he wanted to radically change the source material, the 19th-century children’s book called Collodis about a naughty puppet learning obedience and selflessness. In fact, he wanted to get it subverted, and stop motion would help him do that. In that way, Del Toro told Polygon that he found the poetic irony in directing Pinocchios story.
A film about a puppet will be pretty interesting in a world full of people who don’t know that they are puppets, he says. Not only do they make dolls. Everybody’s around that. And the one who’s less like a puppet, everybody believes he’s a puppet! I thought there was something good there.
This irony is at the heart of the movie del Toros, which redefines a single version of the story with the setting and moral of Collodi Pinocchio. He decided to take the action in Mussolinis Italy, and creates Pinocchio himself by means of an anarchical force that liberates the people he meets, instead of learning to follow them. Among its many different horror films, the Devils Backbone and Pans Labyrinth were shot in Europe from a child’s perspective.
Photo – Netflix
In the three sides, the three focus on the subjects of war, innocence, dictatorships, disintegrating or active, and how they look at everyday life, family, a city, a small church or a small house, says Toro. I think one of the problems that connects Pans Labyrinth to Pinocchio direct is disobedience as a virtue which is a real counter-movement to the traditional Pinocchio story that says, when you obey it, then you become a real child. What do you know?
When asked why he’s kept going back to that time and setting, del Toro taps into the sense that he saw growing up – a fear and distrust of the world not less profound because they were contextual to his comfortable life. It was not normal that when I was a child, in the same time I was a peacey boy. Until I felt it, he said in insistent ways.
From the one side, you are given a life of childhood – this world carries many fairies and wishes and magical worlds. On the other side, one interacts with a slew of brutality and inhumanity, and the other of us see it. I mean, it’s impossible for a child to see it. And they all tell you things you have always no faith, or they break the rules they tell you to follow. This paradox is why I was so confused and afraid of my childhood.
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Del Toros takeover Pinocchio is also a child born under the name parenthood. That makes it much better to sit down with Geppetto, Pinocchios creator, and renders the puppet under an angous eye of resurgence over the death of his son. The film of Pinocchios creation is taken to an extremely frightening stage, like in the movie Frankenstein. We know that del Toro is fascinated with monsters. Can he come across a Pinocchio, too?
Okay, in a way I am. I’m sure in this movie, says del Toro. When I’m thinking about a monster, it is the anomaly that puts the world to the test.  A little like the horror of that man, I want my child back. And the child is back in the way that he doesn’t recognize and has a certainly unholy, almost elemental energy because of the resurrection. And I think it’s very important that Geppetto prays for the miracle. But when that miracle happens, he’s unhappy. You know, because he gets what he wants.
Geppetto obsessed with perfection learns that imperfection and things as they are are the only wisdoms one can have in the world. Don’t attempt perfection, but seek evil egos of love.
Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro now viewed on Netflix.