“From my many wanderings on this Earth, I had so much to say about imperfect fathers and imperfect sons,” begins Sebastian J. Cricket, chronicler of the life of the wooden boy, Pinocchio. Directors Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson transport Carlo Collodi’s 1883 book to Fascist-era Italy in del Toro’s first stop-motion-animated feature film. While Collodi—and the many, many subsequent retellings of the classic story—focus on the obedience of children, del Toro celebrates righteous disobedience, chosen family, and what it means to be truly alive. Brought to life by Wood Sprite to heal a grieving Geppetto, Pinocchio navigates the exploitative worlds of the military and the entertainment industry as he tries to find out what it means to be a good son. Though del Toro and Gustafson take a naturalistic approach to their handmade animation, the fantastical creatures Pinocchio meets along the way wrap the film in an aura of otherworldly magic. An international production that spanned from Portland, Oregon, to Guadalajara and Manchester, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is a sweeping love letter to—and a towering achievement in—the craft of stop-motion animation.
Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Curator, and Brittany Shaw, Curatorial Assistant, with Kyla Gordon, Research Assistant, Department of Film.