Take a break from the harsh realities of life as we now know it by treating yourself to two hours of pure escape in the form of the 2019 Italian film Pinocchio. Directed by Matteo Garrone, it is shot in beautiful Tuscany and stars Frederico Ielapi as the most endearing puppet you will ever come across and Robert Benigni as his long-suffering creator and father, Gipetto. Lavish production, superb acting and flamboyant costumes served to enchant me when I watched it at Redruth cinema. There is humour, pathos, a little fear and dread, and heart-rending tenderness in this one film. The makeup is staggeringly clever: Pinocchio’s wood-grained face, Snail’s soft face with small horns which prove strangely suggestible (I won’t say more), and the travelling puppets, all a feast for the eyes. Pinocchio, whose big heart brought a tear to my eye, (yes, I know it’s not real) is joined by so many wonderful characters I am hard pressed to single any out for special mention, though Tuna and The Judge come to mind. So appealing, so funny. Released in December 2019 in Italy, it picked up awards for sets, costumes, and visual effects, and made it Garrone’s biggest success to date.
Originally Italian, Matteo Garrone paid for the film to be dubbed in English using Italian voices to preserve the Italianness of it. Some actors dubbed themselves, including Ielapi. This certainly pays off in terms of ambience and charm.
In these dark times it is good to be entertained by a film which will appeal to grown-ups and children alike. It’s an old story, and it’s nice to know that some things don’t change, even if it’s only fairy stories. So, treat yourself and help support our cinemas who have had such a hard time of late. It’s use them or lose them I think, and losing them is unthinkable.