In an Academy Awards category usually dominated by lighter, friendlier films like Pixar’s, Oscar-winning del Toro triumphed with his macabre take on the famed Italian Carlo Collodi, now set in 1930s Italy.
The film, which deals with fascism, war and tragedy, is also very different from the adaptation of the Disney classic “Pinocchio”, but the ambitious approach to the themes and the use of striking motion animation seduced the Academy’s votes.
“The soul is ready to move on to the next step. We are all ready for it. Please help us. Keep the animation in the conversation,” said Del Toro from the photo taken.
In the movie, Gepetto, still mourning the loss of his only son decades earlier, carves a wooden doll that suddenly comes to life.
Despite his friend Sebastian J. Grillo (voiced by Ewan McGregor) trying to stop him, Pinocchio is tricked into fleeing the circus with the evil Count Fox (Christopher Waltz).
With Geppetto and Grillo set off after him, Pinocchio is transported to a fascist camp, battles terrifying sea beasts, runs through and avoids destruction, and even comes face-to-face with the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini himself.
The English star voice cast includes Cate Blanchett, John Turturro and Tilda Swinton.
It’s been del Toro’s dream for a long time now. But it was an effort to film rejection and frustration for about a decade, before Netflix signed on to the project in 2018.
“I gave half my life fighting to make it happen,” del Toro told AFP.
The filmmaker repeated to the studio several times that he was not making a film for children, but something that children could see, which he admitted was a very unusual topic for Hollywood finance.
He chose a period of military salute, strict conformism and intense machismo – “a time when it was good to look like a pupa” – to highlight Pincocho’s own disobedience.
“I wanted Pinocchio, who was only a puppet, to not act as a puppet. I thought it was the perfect thing,” he said.
Del Toro used his distinctive Gothic stories to loom large before the specter of fascism in films like “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Devil’s Backbone,” both set during the Francisco Franco dictatorship in Spain (1939-1975).
– “Kaleidoscopic” –
In addition to the complexity and cost inherent in the film, it took a thousand days of filming.
The film uses a painstaking method of “compression-motion” animation, in which puppets are manipulated frame by frame to create the appearance of movement.
For del Toro, the use of computer-generated imagery, like Disney’s recent “Pinocchio” remake of the original 1940s animation, was never an option.
“It’s very relevant for me to make a story about puppets with puppies, and think that puppets are not puppets,” he told AFP. “It’s kind of a kaleidoscopic thing.”
Although del Toro has always been fascinated by animation, he won the Oscars for best director and best picture for the live-action film, 2017’s “The Shape of Water.” “Pinoculus” is his first animated film.
Although the story explores the bonds between father and son, for del Toro the film is very much about his mother, with whom he was close. It was she who introduced the idea of Pinocchio as a child filmmaker.
“My mother always collected Pinocchio… My mother and I saw it together when I was very little, and Pinocchio has saved my whole life,” he said.
Guadalupe Gomez, del Toro’s mother, died in October, just before the film’s world premiere in London.
They seemed to be “a film that connected me with my mother all my life,” the director said at the time with the film.
In winning the Oscar, Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio”, the favorite in the animation category, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”, the latest installment in the “Shrek” franchise, as well as “Red”, are Asian. -inspired the Pixar film, the Netflix adventure “Sea Monster” and the comedy “Marcel Shell with Shoes On.”