Guillermo Del Toro presents Pinocchio in London after the death of his mother

After a difficult 14-year battle, the Mexican author Guillermo del Toro was finally able to share his dream project with an audience as ‘Pinocchio’ (officially titled ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’) had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.

Taking the stage before the premiere, del Toro spoke about his connection to the story: “I saw the movie when I was a kid and it’s a movie that bonded me to my mother for a lifetime. It touched me because Pinocchio saw the world as I saw it. I was a little angry that people were demanding Pinocchio’s obedience so I wanted to make a film about disobedience as a virtue, and saying that you don’t have to change to be loved.

The film’s young star, newcomer Gregory Mann, described the premiere – which coincides with his 13th birthday, a fortuitous event that earned him an affectionate birthday chant from the public – as “the best day of his life”.

While on stage, del Toro was keen to reinforce his and his team’s love for the craft of animation: “Everyone here believes that animation isn’t a genre. This animation is art. Animation is a movie. Visibly moved, the filmmaker bid farewell to the public by paying tribute to his late mother, who died the day before the film’s world premiere: “I just want to say, my mother has just passed away, and it was very special for her and me. . It’s not just the first time you’ll see the movie, it’s the first time she’ll see the movie with us. Thanks.”

Directed alongside Mark Gustafson (“The Fantastic Mr Fox”), the film took 1,000 days to produce, with a huge lineup of animators working tirelessly to bring the filmmaker’s ambitious vision to life. The effort paid off as audiences laughed loudly and quietly wiped away their tears at the film’s first public screening on Saturday at London’s imposing Royal Festival Hall.

Pinocchio himself walked the red carpet at the BFI London Film Festival. Well, the Pinocchio puppet used in the movie. The intricate model was placed on a small pedestal as photographers crouched down to take a photo of the miniature. Other stars in attendance included Cate Blanchett, Christoph Waltz, netflixby Ted Sarandos – who posed with model Pinocchio – and composer Alexandre Desplat, who is reuniting with the Mexican director for the first time since the 2017 Oscar-winning drama ‘The Shape of Water’.

Rescued from development hell by Netflix, del Toro’s version of Carlo Collodi’s classic 1883 book “The Adventures of Pinocchio” places the famous tale of the wooden puppet who wanted to become a real boy in the dark context of the Fascist Italy by Benito Mussolini. Mann voices the title character while a legion of big names make up the rest of the cast, including Waltz, Blanchett, Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, and John Turturro.

Variety Guy Lodge labeled “Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro” “rare children’s entertainment that’s not afraid to perplex children as much as it delights them, down to a coda that incites some level of junior existential contemplation (not to mention a mournful tear or two) at the notion of a dead insect in a matchbox coffin in the wooden – but very real – heart of a boy.It’s a vivid and sumptuous shot of weirdness, better seen than described.

‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’ is one of several Netflix films to arrive in London for this year’s festival, and was one of two world premieres alongside Nora Twomey’s ‘My Father’s Dragon’. Other Netflix titles in the 2022 edition include Sebastian Lelio’s ‘The Wonder’, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s surreal examination of cultural displacement ‘Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths’, ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” by Rian Johnson and Adaptation by Noah Baumbach of the eponymous novel by Don DeLillo “White Noise”.

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” will have its U.S. premiere at AFI Fest in November, followed by a limited theatrical release before hitting Netflix worldwide on December 9.

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