A father, a puppet, and some imagination
by Vittoria Scarpa
- Amidst a colourful, energetic festival, the Venice Days 2012 have kicked off with the latest animation film by the director of Lucky and Zorba, to music by Lucio Dalla.
Everybody knows the story: One day, a poor carpenter called Geppetto sculpts a puppet that comes to life and sets off on 1,000 adventures. But the mise-en-scene that great European animation figure Enzo D'Alò (Lucky and Zorba) has chosen for his version of Pinocchio [+see also:
interview: Enzo D'Alò
film profile] is completely original, or so it seemed to the audience at the opening of the 9th Venice Days (August 30 - September 8). The film is bursting with energy, dazzling colours, and brilliant music. It's "a project that I had being thinking about for over ten years, a story that is still contemporary and that could last ten hours with so many ways of telling it," stresses the director.
The film, that opens with the image of a kite flying over hills and fields, was written by the director with Umberto Marino, respecting the original dialogue written by Carlo Collodi, whose work has so often been adapted for both television and cinema. With its drawings by the inimitable Lorenzo Mattotti ("A great illustrator who for me is a legend," says D'Alò), this new animation film's particular style stands out from the very first scenes. Thanks to nimble editing that rightly renders the continuous mobility of the inexhaustible puppet, Pinocchio alternatively features both vast fantastic landscapes and detailed close-ups. The colours are bright and contrasting, and the illustrator's stroke is simple but firm.
The illustrator has given life to his pencil strokes thanks to advanced digital techniques, all the while referencing great Italian painters and metaphysical paintings, which renders the film different from American or Japanese animation. "For the Green Fisherman's grotto, I thought of Beato Angelico's paintaings," said Mattotti. The result seems closer to the spirit of Collodi's original book than to its Disney adaptation. It makes the film, produced with France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, all the more Italian.
All this is accompanied by beautiful, moving music that perfectly matches the images and successfully marks the different moments in the story. We owe these notes to one of Italy's most cherished composers and songwriters: the late Lucio Dalla. "The music came before the storyboard," explained D'Alò, who had already worked with the great trans-Alpine composer Paolo Conte on his first feature How the Toys Saved Christmas. "It was constructed at the same time as the film."
"When he saw these simple mysterious drawings, Lucio immediately thought of Rossini and Nino Rota," said Marco Alemanno, one of Dalla's close collaborators and the singer of the last song in the film. The last words that D'Alò remembers the great Bolognese musician saying in delight at the final result were, "I want to see this film in Venice." Naturally, Pinocchio is dedicated to him.
(Translated from Italian)