Guillermo del Toro Attends ‘Pinocchio’ Premiere One Day After His Mother’s Death: ‘This Was Very Special for Her and Me’

The filmmaker's late mother shared his love of the classic fairy tale.
Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images f

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” made its long-awaited premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on Friday, with the Oscar winning filmmaker taking a victory lap as the film he co-directed with Mark Gustafson debuted to glowing reviews. It was bound to be a special day for del Toro, who spent 14 years fighting to get the movie made and over 1,000 days filming it. That said, the premiere was particularly emotional as del Toro told the audience that his mother, Guadalupe Gómez, had died the day before, per Variety.

“I just want to say, my mother just passed away, and this was very special for her and me,” del Toro said. “This is not only the first time you’ll see the movie, it’s the first time she’ll see the movie with us.”

He reflected on his mother’s love of the “Pinocchio” fairy tale, and how the Disney movie forged a bond between them that influenced the rest of his filmmaking career.

“I saw the film as a kid and it’s a film that bonded me with my mom for an entire life,” he said. “It affected me because Pinocchio saw the world the way I saw it. I was a little bit enraged that people demand obedience from Pinocchio so I wanted to make a film about disobedience as a virtue, and to say that you shouldn’t change to be loved.”

“Pinocchio” is the first animated feature film that del Toro has directed, but he has long been one of the medium’s biggest supporters. At the premiere, he used the opportunity to praise animators and call for their work to be heralded as a legitimate art form.

“Everybody who is here believes that animation is not a genre,” he said. “That animation is art. Animation is film.”

The decade that del Toro used to develop the movie was clearly time well spent. In his IndieWire review, Rafael Motamayor wrote: “’Pinocchio’ feels like the best mix of classic del Toro and new del Toro, with the wisdom and melancholy that comes with age and experience, yet his bright-eyed love of fairy tales from his Spanish-language films. Perhaps more impressive is how ‘Pinocchio’ pushes the oldest form of animation to new places, and like the puppet himself, breathes life into inanimate objects.”

Netflix will give “Pinocchio” a theatrical release this November before the film begins streaming on December 9.

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