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‘Pinocchio’ Trailer: Roberto Benigni Is Geppetto in Matteo Garrone’s Modern Fairy Tale Update

A hit at the Berlinale, the "Dogman" filmmaker lends his zany sociopolitical lens to the classic allegory of the wooden boy come to life.

Roberto Benigni and Federico Ielapi in “Pinocchio”

Roadside Attractions

Roadside Attractions has released the first trailer for “Pinocchio,” Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone’s mature contemporary riff on the classic fairytale. The film premiered to rave reviews earlier this year at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it garnered attention for Garrone’s layered storytelling, imaginative visuals, and zany surrealist flourishes. This live-action “Pinocchio” stars Oscar winner Roberto Benigni as puppetmaker Geppetto, and features a breakout performance from young newcomer Federico Ielapi as the little wooden boy.

Here’s the official synopsis: “Shot in stunning Italian locations, Matteo Garrone’s rich world of mystery and wonder stars Academy Award-winning actor Roberto Benigni as Geppetto, the old woodcarver whose puppet creation, Pinocchio, magically comes to life with dreams of becoming a real boy. Easily led astray, Pinocchio (nine-year-old Federico Ielapi) tumbles from one misadventure to another as he is tricked, kidnapped and chased by bandits through a wonderful world full of imaginative creatures – from the belly of a giant fish, to the Land Of Toys and the Field Of Miracles.”

In his positive review out of Berlin, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote: “Garrone’s enthralling version taps into the creepy, kinky nature of the material, resulting in a gothic fantasy that embodies the original’s appeal. … Garrone’s ‘Pinocchio’ doesn’t look like any version an American studio might produce today, and instead occupies a peculiar limbo between the sensibility of a children’s movie and a more unsettling adult take.”

The tale of the puppet come to life has long held a fascination since its initial publication almost 150 years ago. Its most famous screen adaptation is, of course, the animated Disney version, released in 1940. Disney is currently whittling away at its own update to the classic tale, a live-action take from Robert Zemeckis, while Guillermo del Toro is working on his highly anticipated animated version for Netflix. With Benigni in the role and Garrone’s darker, modern take on the allegory, this “Pinocchio” could attract if not a wider audience, than perhaps amore discerning one.

Roadside Attractions will release “Pinocchio” in theaters on Christmas. Check out Roberto Benigni and Federico Ielapi in the first official trailer below.

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