Pinocchio, the film directed by Matteo Garrone, with a great interpretation by Roberto Benigni in the role of Geppetto, is a new cinematic version of the famous Collodi fairy tale. In the cast of the film there is also the young Federico Ielapi who plays the role of Pinocchio and is pure dynamic energy, even a little disturbing in the make-up that makes him a woody puppet with veins and holes. The special participation of Gigi Proietti as Mangiafuoco, and subsequently Rocco Papaleo and Massimo Ceccherini (the latter is also co-screenwriter of the film) instead interpret the Cat and the Fox, or the scam couple who robs the naive puppet. This wonderful film remains very faithful to the children's novel, first published in 1881 by Collodi. The film traces the history of the long-nosed puppet, since its birth by the hand of Geppetto who carved its features. A wooden trunk that becomes a puppet and acquires motor and intellectual skills, like any real child: this is Pinocchio, even if his flesh is the bark and his bones are sawdust. Although his body is hard as an oak and his head even more so, Geppetto is fond of him as if he were a real child, his son. But the puppet is not the obedient and studious child his carpenter dad hoped for. Driven by an irrepressible curiosity, by a mischievous and sometimes naive character, Pinocchio will often find himself in trouble, putting even Geppetto himself in danger.
At the level of the plot, almost nothing that director Garrone tells us is so different from what we have already read and seen over and over again. Some chapters of Collodi's novel and some small but insignificant elements have changed or moved chronologically out of mere necessity, but nothing more. The screenplay signed by Garrone and Massimo Ceccherini does not foresee any upheavals or (re) interpretations, simply because the director's aim has always been to pay homage to a great classic of the childhood of all of us, to make us go back to a little bit of children and rediscover that happiness and innocence that we have partly lost. To steal the show, right from the start, however, is Roberto Benigni's Geppetto: having him interpret the role of the carpenter who builds a wooden puppet capable of speaking and moving on its own is a decision that turns out to be very apt. Benigni has interpreted his Geppetto in an exemplary way, which appears to be animated by a mixture of candor and misery for his quality of life that gives Garrone's feature peaks of greater emotion and emotional hold. In addition to amplifying the sense of dexterity, tangible poverty and sentimentality, which you can touch from the beginning to the end of the film, thus glimpsing the peasant world of the late nineteenth century. The director's authorial research continues, in the bizarre and fantastic realism that borders on the macabre and which we had already known and appreciated in his 2015 film «The Tale of Tales». The almost emphasized material detail, the anti-modernity of a peasant-fable culture in which the animal can speak to man and man in turn can become an animal without anyone being surprised, is enhanced in the make-up of Mark Coulier already architect in the making of the makeup of the characters of Harry Potter. Instead, they are the moments dedicated to the Blue Fairy brought to the big screen by the French actress Marine Vacth, a more delicate and impalpable but irremediably gothic and mysterious presence, flanked by the Snail (Maria Pia Timo) and by a younger version of herself. which introduces in the film the element of the duplicity between youth and maturity, between the recklessness of childhood and the need to come to terms with one's most unspeakable desires but also the most dangerous on the social level.
There is also particular attention in the staging of the spaces and characters that fill them typical of the director who has been able to give life to pulsating suburbs, suburbs, dirty and devastated neighborhoods of our contemporaneity. And just as Garrone chooses and recreates around his camera a present in which the contradictions of modernity are perfectly reflected, so he is able to go and look for intact places in rural Italy where to recreate a nineteenth century that is the perfect theater for the story. of him. So we find an appropriate choice of locations, between Tuscany, Lazio and Puglia, where photography and direction caress with almost fairy visions, the theme of the fantastic that coexists with realism such as the moment of absolute spectacle in which the transformation takes place. underwater of the donkey in Pinocchio thanks to a whirlwind of small fish, a scene that combines fantasy and nature and this theme is rarely found in Italian cinema. Garrone's Pinocchio is also a metaphor for the journey that each individual takes to discover who he is and who he would like to become. We, too often puppets of destiny, at the mercy of fascinating and dangerous patrons just like the Cat and the Fox who stumble over our mistakes, without listening to our talking cricket, and let ourselves be tempted by the Land of Toys, realizing that growing up is too difficult It is challenging. Even all of us, just like Pinocchio, in the end we know well that time is a surplus value and that carrying the impetus of natural change upon us is equivalent to "being", existing as humans. Film that makes us completely immerse ourselves in the surreal while keeping us anchored to common aspects of everyday life and thanks to the sublime interpretation of the great actors present in the cast, we let ourselves go to the childish and a little nostalgic emotionality of our youth but carrying within us the message that in addition to making us reflect, it teaches us that one can grow from one's mistakes and hope must never fail to reach one's happiness.