College-London Elissa B. Quaderni d'italianistica. Expressions of 'low culture' such as television, film, Reality TV shows and Hollywood cinema are traditionally viewed with suspicion by intellectuals and excluded from academic scholarship, while children's literature is often confined to the specialized area of minor- ity literature. In recent years however, even among Italian scholars, more emphasis has been placed on the significance of a broad-ranging concept of culture, on the need to transcend rigid distinction between 'high' and 'low culture' and give serious consideration to various aspects of cultural practice such as children's literature, film, television and Reality TV.
By viewing such instances of popular culture as an expression of social, polit- ical and power relations, the articles in this issue contribute to the cultur- In the anniversary of Le avventure di Pinocchio was honoured in North America with scholarly sessions at conferences in both Canada and the United States.
In fact, some of the articles in this issue Bettella's, Anselmi's, and Hogan's were first presented during a special session on Pinocchio and children's literature at the congress of the Canadian Society for Italian Studies held, that year, in Halifax. The Fondazione Nazionale "Carlo Collodi," established in , continues to publish collections of essays on Collodi and Pinocchio and also hosts a website www.
Collodi's book is considered a masterpiece in children's literature, but also a text which challenges the conventions of the fairy-tale genre. Nicholas Perella, American translator of Pinocchio, defines it as the anti-Cinderella, a parody of the rag-to-riches-tale where, unlike in tradi- tional fables, the only valid rule is the one "God helps those who help themselves" 17, 9.
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Italian scholars have come to revere the Avventure di Pinocchio as one of the best novels in Italian Ottocento narrative and many view it as the book which best expresses the Italian character. Giuseppe Prezzolini considered Collodi's masterpiece a "pietra d'assaggio degli stranieri," a text capable of embodying the essence of Italianness and of the Italian national character.
In the century since its publication, Collodi's book has been acknowledged as a classic which can touch individual imagination and be fully appreciated For the debate about Cultural Studies and Italian scholars see Forgacs and Lumley's "Introduction: Approaches to Culture in Italy", Baranski's "Introducing Modern Italian Culture" and Robert Dombroskis "Foreword" to the issue of Annali d'italianistica devoted to Italian Cultural Studies. Despite Benedetto Croce's elitist approach towards Italian literature, it was thanks to him that Pinocchio entered the Italian literary canon.
Prezzolini's remarks are quoted in Nicholas J. Perella's "An Essay on Pinocchio," p. For the critical debate on Collodi's masterpiece see Bruno Traversetti's section "Il dibattito critico" in Introduzione a Collodi, pp. Foreword in every culture. If Collodi's masterpiece has generated endless revisita- tions, adaptations, interpretations, sequels, and even multi-media digital installations, Pinocchio the character has gained such a large mass appeal that it has become a universal cultural icon.
As its translation in virtually all known languages proves, its appeal extends beyond the geographical boundaries of the Italian peninsula. The abundance and variety of interpretations and readings is staggering. In an article from the Italian daily La Repubblica Italo Calvino points out the genetic power of Pinocchio, whose peculiarity is "offrirsi alla per- petua collaborazione del lettore per essere analizzato, chiosato, e smontato rimontato.
One can just refer to some significant ones in Italy such as Giorgio Manganelli's commentary Pinocchio. Italian designer Franz Fischneller has created a digital interac- tive installation called "Virtual Pinocchio" The technological experience of Pinocchio for the new millennium integrates robotics, animation, digital imagination, interactivity allowing to experience in a ludic setting Pinocchio's life in the twenty-first century. For Pinocchio as cultural icon one can think of the pervasive use of the puppets pointy nose in the media and the press as sym- bol of lying.
For more on rewritings and the impact of Pinocchio in popular cul- ture see Sandra Beckett's article in this issue. Un libro parallelo, the most notable rewriting of Collodi's Pinocchio. Manganelli best captured the essence of Collodi's text when he stated that Questo mattone interiore del libro, della pagina, include innumere pagine, libri infiniti If Le avventure di Pinocchio engages and fascinates children and even more adults, its hero has become a pervasive presence in contemporary cul- ture.
In fact, Pinocchio is so sedimented in our collective unconscious that it has become a cultural icon. Sandra L. Beckett expands on this point by giving an exemplary lesson on pinocchiology and demonstrating the persistence of the proteic puppet in various expression of literary and popular culture. From the intertextual lit- erary games by Umberto Eco and Gianni Rodari, to cinematic rewritings by Disney and Benigni, to visual graphic re-readings by illustrators such as Fanelli, Mattotti and Lane Smith, to sequels and adaptations in various lan- guages, to Pinocchio in science-fiction and music, Beckett's essays shows how this icon in Western culture permeates every area of popular culture, thereby confirming the generativity of Collodi's masterpiece.
See for example the cover of magazine L'Espresso 24 Aug. R A case in point is the unawareness of the younger generations, including most North American university students, that Pinocchio existed before and in a for- mat different from Disney's film. Patrizia Bettellas essay examines adaptations by Disney, Comencini, and Benigni, providing some com- mentary and comparative analysis of three most significant film versions of Collodi's original in the past six decades.
Disney's "toy-boy," Comencini's "poor boy," and Benigni's "burattino" are three distinctive versions of the protagonist that reflect different modes of social and cultural practice. Hogan juxtaposes the flop of Benigni's film in the United States to the enor- mously successful phenomenon of American Reality TV and recuperates Benigni's message in the face of a general condemnation of the entertain- ment press.
Anselmi attributes more directly the failure of Benigni's Pinocchio at the box office and in the press in the United States to a politi- cal strategy intrinsic in Hollywood imperialistic assertion of American cul- ture over others, hence the polarization and antagonism between Benigni's rendering of the boy-puppet in his Pinocchio and the one by Steven Spielberg in the artificial boy of Artificial Intelligence, a film where "human- ity is represented as a step in the evolution of mechanical intelligence.
Truglio's article on Annie Vivanti's neglect- ed fairy-tale production. Vivanti's novel for children Sua Altezza! The articles in this special issue of Quaderni d'italianistica rightfully honour and insightfully investigate Carlo Collodi's masterpiece Le avven- ture di Pinocchio, children's literature, and cultural studies, thereby opening new perspectives and offering original scholarly work in a marginalised and often neglected area of Italian Studies.
University of Alberta -Tn Pinocchio Goes Postmodern Wunderlich and Morrisey for example have shown how Pinocchio's popularity and the distortion of Collodi's book in the United States, through innumerable adaptations, translations and abridgements, illumi- nate the social and political changes between the First World War and the post- modern present. Zygmunt Baranski, Rebecca West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Benni, Stefano. Teatro 2. Milan: Feltrinelli, Bertacchini, Renato. Le "Avventure" ritrovate: Pinocchio e gli scrittori italiani del Novecento. Pescia: Fondazione Nazionale "Carlo Collodo", Calvino, Italo.
Compagnone, Luigi. La vita nuova di Pinocchio. Florence: Vallecchi, Croce, Benedetto. La Letteratura della Nuova Italia. Bari: Laterza, Dombroski, Robert, S. Eco, Umberto. Povero Pinocchio. Verona: Comix, Forgacs, David, Lumley Robert. Italian Cultural Studies: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Giraldi, Giovanni. Il figlio di Pinocchio. Genoa: Fratelli Frilli, Manganelli, Giorgio. Un libro parallelo. Milan: Adelphi, Perella, Nicholas. Rodari, Gianni. La filastrocca di Pinocchio. Rome: Editori Riuniti, Toesca, Piero.
Traversetti, Bruno. Introduzione a Pinocchio. Wunderlich, Richard, Morrisey, Thomas. New York: Routledge, Ho pensato di fabbricarmi da me un bel burattino di legno; ma un burat- tino meraviglioso, che sappia ballare, tirare di scherma e fare i salti mor- tali. Con questo burattino voglio girare il mondo, per buscarmi un tozzo di pane e un bicchier di vino 1. Since Geppetto created Pinocchio with performance and entertain- ment in mind, it is not surprising to note how much interest the boy-pup- pet has attracted in cinema, theatre, and television.
Cinema and television have given Pinocchio undivided attention for almost a century. Data shows that the story of the puppet generated approximately twenty feature film adaptations, 2 to which one should add the European co-production direct- ed by Steve Barron 1 and, of course, Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio, released in October Pinocchio the character attracts the media and continues to inspire cinema.
It is worth noting, for example, Federico Fellini's predilection for Pinocchio — although he may have viewed the story of the puppet as a nightmare — and the presence of motifs from Collodi's story in many of his films. Data from Laura, "Pinocchio nel cinema mondiale. Bernardino Zapponi, screenplayer of La voce della luna, remembering Fellini's project for a film on Pinocchio said: "Fellini vedeva Pinocchio come un incubo, con un po' di antipatia per questo Ottocento toscano, un po' borgh- ese" cited in Giusti, "Quando Fellini cercava Benigni, " n.
In Fellini's last film the protagonist, played by Benigni, is shown with a Pinocchio puppet. Besides Walt Disney's Pinocchio, which will be discussed in detail below, Pinocchio has been the subject of an American musical starring Danny Kaye , it has inspired Steven Spielberg in his film ET- — the extraterrestrial child who became the most famous puppet in s cinema — and more recently Pinocchio makes a comeback in his film Artificial Intelligence 1.
The puppet's natural predisposition for entertain- ment, show, and acting is highlighted also in Walt Disney's version of Pinocchio. The role of Pinocchio in that film was not assigned to a cartoon, for car- toons had yet to be invented, but rather to French comedian Ferdinand Guillaume, also known as Polydor, member of a famous dynasty of clowns, who was attracted to Italy by the fame of Turin as a city of cinema indus- try.
Critics have stressed the theatricality and the abundant use of dialogue in the narrative scheme of the novel, all elements particularly suited to per- formance. Fernando Tempesti, for example, has traced the origin of Collodi's text in the popular Tuscan theatre of Stenterello. See Giusti, "Quando Fellini cercava Benigni," n.
See also in this issue Beckett's observations about Stanley Kubrick's interest in Pinocchio "Le pantin persistant". Disney, Comencini, and Benigni provide three distinctive versions of the protago- nist that reflect various modes of social and cultural practice. In Disney, Pinocchio is and remains a passive and harmless puppet toy-boy , in Comencini he is a poor and rebel child, in Benigni he is an adult burattino.
These three renditions of Collodi's hero are the product not only of different national and social scenarios, but also of different seasons in contemporary culture. As Wunderlich and Morrisey have well illustrated, Disney's film, released in , effects an infantilization of Collodi's puppet, making of Pinocchio the most suitable hero for post-depression America and setting the trend for the image of Pinocchio still dominant today in American culture. Comencini's television colossal, created in the highly politically charged atmosphere of s Italy, brings the focus on children issues and critiques the flawed methods of middle class education.
Comencini's particular inter- est in an analysis of the problems of real children brings to a complete era- sure of the fairy-tale dimension and of the puppet, making of Collodi's hero a boy in flesh and blood throughout his teleromanzo. Benigni's film, instead, as product of early twenty-first-century culture, oscillates between an accep- tance of the morality espoused by Collodi at the end of the novel— the pup- pet must grow and become a good and real boy — and the embrace of an alternative scenario where a grown-up-namely Benigni himself — not only continues to be a child at heart, but also opts for the joyous rebellion of the puppet.
Needless to say, this last proposition has sparked fierce attacks on Benigni's film, particularly in North America. Given the vast popularity of Collodi's book in the United States in the s, Walt Disney's interest in making a film about Pinocchio developed possibly as early as Benigni him- self says that ever since he was child he had been identified with Pinocchio by his mother and that great "maestro" Federico Fellini called him "Pinocchietto. Wunderlich notes that Frank's story line is very distant from — 11 — Patrizia Bettella assumed by many that it was Disney's film which began the transformation and trivialization of Pinocchio in America, its expurgation of any disturb- ing and troublesome aspects of childhood, sociologist Robert Wunderlich shows how the changes in Collodi's story took place well before Disney's version, as the result of a simplified conceptualization, and social redefini- tion of childhood in the United States.
After Brothers Grimm's Germany, Disney naturally turned to Pinocchio's Italy, but Italy is Europeanized in many aspects: the mountain village setting, Geppetto as a clockmaker and even Pinocchio's costume, re-cast the Italian original in an idyllic Tyrol of middle-class fulfilled dreams. To quote from Wunderlich: "Unlike Collodi's egoistic, headstrong puppet, Disney's Pinocchio is the personifi- cation of childhood innocence and loving acceptance.
He is the newborn infant filled with wonder, maintaining a sense of wide-eyed awe toward any joy about everything around him" Wunderlich, "The Tribulations," For Jack Zipes, Disney effects the Americanization of Pinocchio through the techniques which are used in all of Disney's adaptations of classical fairy-tales Zipes, Disney simplifies the narrative structure of Collodi's Avventure by condensing the story and reducing Collodi's topol- ogy to six different spaces: Geppetto's home, Mangiafuoco's Stromboli theatre and wagon, the tavern, the Paese dei Balocchi or Pleasure Island , which in Disney becomes a huge American amusement park, the sea and the belly of the Whale Monstro.
New value is attributed to theses spaces: the only desirable place is Geppetto's home, locus of livelihood and self- ful- filment, associated to the ideal of the family middle-class American Disney's plot, yet Frank's character revisions may have influenced Disney's ren- ditions of Collodi's original "The Tribulations. Wunderlich defines Frank's play Pinocchio "the very antithesis of Collodi's vibrant character. He is not headstrong but thoroughly docile and passive Frank's Pinocchio is inno- cent and wishes harm to no one; he is incapable of being mean or ill-tempered. While in Collodi the world of children is presented with its challenges and complexities, in modern America children are depicted in a simplistic and excessively positive way.
Unlike in the original Pinocchio, in American translations and adaptations, all antisocial ten- dencies are removed from the child and the image of the parents is idealized. It is not coincidental that in Disney's version the story ends with the homecoming and reestablishment of the happy family, while this does not happen either in Collodi, or in Comencini, or in Benigni. To make the woody puppet's movements less rigid and more natural Disney creates a half puppet, half boy, a toy-boy with typically woody legs, but with the rest of the body fully human.
Moreover Disney places beside Pinocchio Jiminy Cricket, in the role of the narrator, a character with whom the audience can identify and a sympathetic vaudeville clown who charms the public and provides a didactic voice. Disney's film, in fact, did not do well at the box office nor was it received positively in Italy, where it received negative reviews when it was released in The main criticism was precisely the distance from Collodi's original.
The story is simplified in order to highlight the technical artistry and invention to command audience's attention. Although changes to fairy-tale plots are few, there is more definite typecasting of characters: clear-cut gender roles associate women with domesticity and men with action. Evil characters are dark or black, while protagonists are fair. Zipes, "Towards a Theory," pp. Zipes points out that Jiminy Cricket is the major character in Disney's film since, as omniscient voice, he frames and narrates the story.
His moral con- science is imposed on Pinocchio and on the audience, hence Jiminy provides all the excitement and makes the story of Pinocchio the puppet uninteresting. Zipes, "Towards a Theory," p. In a review published after Pinocchio'? Avessimo un burattino monello tirolese, americano, quel che volete! For an evaluation of the positive qualities and for American critical reviews of Disney's Pinocchio see Sachse, Pinocchio in U.
By choosing a clockmaker's instead of a carpenter's shop, Disney can highlight the automatic and mechanic effect in gesture and movement, some of which is displaced on objects rather than on the puppet. Unlike in Comencini's and Benigni's film, in Disney's anthropomorphized animals abound, a typical Disneyan procedure well suited to animation films. Disney effectively typecast minor characters such as Honest John and Gideon as vaudeville actors, a choice endorsed thirty years later by Comencini himself, who, in his TV film, made the Cat and the Fox assis- tants to Mangiafuoco and chose for the roles comic actors Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia.
In Disney's film the categories of good and evil are equally divided and clearly marked in an attempt to create a balance of forces among which Pinocchio finds himself. Characters then are unidi- mensional and markedly identified with either good or evil. So in Disney's film Pinocchio faces a crescendo of negativity that culminates in the climatic encounter with horror.
Pinocchio does not show any tension towards an objective, since there is always someone else making decisions for him. He effectively appears unchanged from begin- ning to end, like perfect, submissive, and compliant toy-boy. The cricket, which functions in Collodi as the conscience, in Disney becomes the nar- rative conscience; Jiminy Cricket's actions do not change the situation. The animated picture reinterprets the real world by giving a simplified vision of reality, in which moral values are juxtaposed.
As Jack Zipes noted, Disney commodifies fairy-tale films and "sacrifices art to technical invention; innovation to tradition; stimulation of the imagination to consumption for -'For more on Disney's sources and the various translations and adaptations of Collodi's novel in America see chapter 2 in Wunderlich and Morrisey's Pinocchio Goes Postmodern. While Zipes' opinion is shared by many, the cine- matic achievement and quality of Disney's Pinocchio is unquestionable.
The film is still appreciated today for spontaneity, inventiveness, technical innovation, and a memorable soundtrack, so much so that experts consid- er it one of Disney's masterpieces. Disney makes the puppet into a passive, pliable toy-boy who reflects what Wunderlich and Morrisey see as the American accepted and sanctioned, and yet simplified, view of childhood.
Comencini's Le avventure di Pinocchio: the Poor Boy It is hard to pinpoint precisely if and what impact Disney's animation pic- ture had on Luigi Comencini when he completed his version of Collodi's masterpiece. Since Disney's Pinocchio marks a milestone in the diffusion of the character and story of the Italian wooden puppet, Comencini may have viewed the famous cartoon as a model to correct.
If Disney proposes the model of childhood that best fits post- depression America — a domesticated and submissive view of boyhood — Comencini, who makes his film in post- Italy, presents Pinocchio as a rebel and cheeky boy, who only occasionally appears as a puppet. Disney's Snow White was reviewed in the journal Corrente on 28 February Comencini criticized it for being "opera d'arte. The film was created as a television series in six episodes for a duration of almost six hours.
The production cost more than one billion lire, making it still one of the most expensive Italian films ever made, it was viewed in the whole world including China, Korea and Cuba. At the time Comencini's film was aired, RAI was still holding a monopoly in Italian broadcasting and was carrying out a largely informational cultural and educational mandate.
The only exception to the stellar cast was the nine year-old boy Andrea Balestri, a non-professional actor, who was chosen for the leading role of Pinocchio. This teleromanzo was a high-budget produc- tion, two years in the making. Given its duration over five hours this film is destined to remain unique in the history of Pinocchio adaptations for the screen and is still considered the best film version of Collodi's masterpiece ever made. Vitali, n. In Comencini's film, the adventures of Pinocchio are narrated along- side the story of Geppetto, whose figure appears more prominently than in Collodi.
In fact the director intended to feature the story of a father-son relationship and to raise awareness on education and on the condition of children in contemporary Italian society. The political movements of the late s and early s in Italy, culminating in the students revolt, marked a period of intense social ferment, rejection of authority, and critique of bourgeois society.
In the politically charged atmosphere of the early s, Comencini stressed the anti-authoritarian message of the story and made the rebellion of the boy into the central theme of the film. It was a time of high revolution- ary potential which produced long lasting effects. Comencini models his film on his realistic view of the world and gives the story a distinctively late nineteenth-century Tuscan setting. He offers a realistic reading of the novel and highlights the plight of poverty and hunger that subtends the life of Geppetto and Pinocchio, a predicament that the director still sees afflicting some children in contemporary Italy.
Although Comencini is best known for inventing the genre of "realismo rosa" and for comedy Italian style with films such as Pane, amore e fantasia , Pane, amore e gelosia , and Tutti a casa , his predilection for child- hood is evident in the recurrence of this theme in many of his films. Besides the documentaries quoted above and the adaptation of Collodi's text, Comencini made L'incompreso , taken from Florence Montgomery's eponymous novel, and later Cuore , taken from De Amicis' novel.
In his autobiography Comencini describes the poverty of children in a Roman borgata, as he portrayed it in the TV documentary I bambini e noi Comencini, Infanzia, pp. In Comencini's Avventure, fairy-tale aspects are almost completely eliminated from the story: no more speaking animals the Cat and the Fox are mountebanks working for Mangiafuoco , the cricket is merely a shadow on the wall; characters are preeminently human, therefore the allegorical dimension brought by the speaking animals disap- pears.
Comencini makes of Collodi's hero a real boy from beginning to end. While in Collodi the change from puppet into boy is the final reward for good behaviour, in Comencini the boy is immediately there, after the Fairy turns Geppetto's puppet into a boy. Almost from the very start Comencini shows us a boy in flesh and blood, who reverts into a wooden puppet only when he misbehaves or when his life is in danger, as a repres- sive or protective process controlled by the Fairy. In an interview the direc- tor explains how he decided to change Collodi's plot by refusing to relegate the transformation from puppet into a boy to the end of the story: "Sarebbe stato quasi impossibile, allora, far recitare un burattino per tutto il film come fosse un attore; The Fairy's magical, though somewhat ominous, arrival is marked by charming glockenspiel music but also by storm and thunder.
Comen- cini's Fata will be revealed later as more of a witch than a good fairy. Identical to the picture of Geppetto's dead wife hanging on the wall, this Fata gives Pinocchio the rules to follow in order for him to remain a real boy: be good, obedient, and support his father in his old age or else, he will revert into a puppet. For Comencini the Fairy's conditions amount to blackmailing the child, an attitude he sees reflected in the treatment of children in Italian society at his time.
Comencini, "Il mio Pinocchio. Decisi di sostituire il ricatto globale del libro con una punizione che colpisce il bambino ogni volta che disubbidisce o non tiene fede agli impegni presi con la fata. Pinocchio nasce nel legno e la fata lo trasfor- ma subito in bambino a patto che Lucignolo is presented sympa- thetically, as a true friend. The negative depiction of middle-class values and education is embodied in the character of the Fairy, who is criticized on various occasions and at the end is attacked by Geppetto for her meth- ods of child's education.
The Fairy punishes this insult by temporarily reverting the boy into a wooden puppet. On various occasions Pinocchio himself curses the "fatina" and calls her "cattiva. Eventually, when Geppetto meets Pinocchio in the belly of the big fish and hears from the boy's words about the strict treatment of the Fairy, it is Geppetto who equates her with a witch. While Comencini redeems some of the negative characters of Collodi's original by revealing their humanity-the Cat and the Fox, are shown as partly victims of the same poverty and hunger which afflicts Pinocchio and Geppetto, Mangiafuoco is presented as more com- passionate towards the boy, Lucignolo reveals to Pinocchio what friendship is about — it is the Fairy who becomes the catalyst for the negative side of the story.
In an interview about Comencini's film and his role as Geppetto, Nino Manfredi pointed out this aspect of the fairy, as he saw it depicted in Collodi's text: "la Fata mi sta antipatica sono convinto che Collodi fosse un misogino. In the teleromanzo the final shift Institutional methods of learning are questioned in a scene where the teacher in Pinocchio's classroom is shown imparting ridiculous notions and inflicting dubi- ous punishment. With his unsuited pedagogical methods the teacher is shown to be responsible for Lucignolo's and Pinocchio's removal from the classroom and ultimately for their escape to the Paese dei Balocchi.
In Comencini instead, Pinocchio calls the Fata "cattiva" three times when he finds out that she is dead. Bevilacqua "Nino Manfredi," n. Here, then, it is the child who makes the adult under- stand the deficiencies of a fake world and who forces his father to re- emerge from the belly of the big fish and begin a new life. Comencini uses Collodi's story to carry out an investigation into the status of childhood, family relations, and education in contemporary society; the poverty of late Ottocento Italy is a subtext for an analysis of the condition of indigence that still plague poor children of his time.
In Comencini's Italy of the early 1 s Pinocchio is a rebel child and a poor boy. Benigni's Pinocchio: the Burattino Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio offers yet a different and much debated ver- sion of Collodi's hero. In Benigni's film the carved piece of wood appears from the outset as neither a puppet nor a child, but looms large as a grown- up man, albeit with the soul of a puppet. The movie follows quite faith- fully the path traced by Collodi.
Pinocchio goes through various scrapes from which he grows and learns to take responsibility for his actions and to care for his parents Geppetto and the Fairy. In short he becomes a "ragazzo perbene. Benigni's Pinocchio was released in Italy in October and on Christmas day in North America in a fully dubbed English version.
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This is definitely a critical commentary on Disney's choice of highlighting the Biblical subtext by changing Collodi's "pescecane" into a whale. The film, which in Italy was appreciated by the public but not particularly by critics, was a complete fiasco in North America, both at the box office and among critics.
Famous English-speaking cinema and televison stars lent their voice for Benigni's film. For more on Benigni's Pinocchio see Anselmi, "Ars bellica, "in this issue. For Fellini's idea of Benigni as a perfect embodiment of Pinocchio see Giusti's arti- cle. The fact that the film was distributed in Italy by Medusa Film, a company owned by prime minister and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi, has outraged many left-leaning viewers and intellectuals who have always appreciated Benigni for his open and sharp criticism of Berlusconi and his conservative government.
For Benigni's comments on the matter see his interview with Davide Grieco. The version in English is in itself problematic; besides the fact that the dubbing is out of synch, the choice of the voices, often attached to easily recognizable actors, is completely inadequate, particular- ly so for Pinocchio and the Fairy. Furthermore, a great deal of Pinocchio's comic vein springs from the use of and play on words — starting with the Tuscan accent and language, which Tuscan actor Benigni is best suited to convey — but all this is lost in the dubbed version.
These problems are quite evident when one compares it to the Italian version and considers how much better it would had been had it simply been given English subtitles. While Comencini makes Collodi's story into a realistic "racconto contadino"and presents it as a social denunciation of the rights of children, Benigni thinks of his Pinocchio as a fairy-tale. In short, Pinocchio the burattino coincides perfectly with Benigni's comic persona. Pinocchio the puppet is the buffoon, the burattino which Benigni strives to be in many of his film personae. Benigni reveals in an interview to Davide Grieco: "Ho sempre fatto Pinocchio in tutte le cose che ho fatto.
Il Piccolo Diavolo era Pinocchio, L'ho sempre rincorso Pinocchio. An adult man who plays the role of a child-puppet and longs to remains such throughout the film may have sparked disapproval, but the childish and puppet-like nature of Pinocchio reflects perfectly the essence of Benigni's persona, a puppet, a burattino, who, like a clown, is ageless. All three film adaptations introduce the character of the Fairy much earlier than Collodi's original.
In Disney and Comencini she appears dur- ing Pinocchio's first night in order to lay down the rules for the successful transformation of the wooden puppet into a boy.
In Benigni, however, the Fata not only appears earlier than in Collodi and in the other two films, but she takes centre stage in the prologue scene, precisely with the fairy- tale arrival of a stagecoach pulled by white mice and driven by Medoro. From the very start the Fairy is inextricably connected to the blue butter- fly. It is the Blue Fairy who grabs for a moment the blue creature and sends it off to fly until it touches the very log which, rambling through the vil- lage, wreaking havoc everywhere and creating comic scenes, ends up in Geppetto's shop to be carved into Pinocchio.
That same butterfly will be seen in the epilogue, when the shadow of Pinocchio, finally a "ragazzo per- bene," still longs to fly freely and wander around. She is depicted as a sex object with blonde rather than blue hair. Her appearances are drastically reduced, and her educational task is shifted to the male-gendered character of the cricket. Unlike Collodi, Disney, and Comencini, Benigni's Pinocchio is an adult, or rather an ageless puppet, and not a wooden puppet who turns into a real boy. In Benigni's film the acquisition of the qualities of the "bravo ragazzo" at the end still leaves space for the puppet.
Pinocchio's search for freedom and his attraction to nature are two ele- ments in Collodi's text which the Tuscan director has espoused for his ver- sion of Pinocchio. In the Oscar-winning movie the preoccupation with the child's survival and the task of disguising the cruelty and horror of the Holocaust from the child's life experience is given to the father figure, played by Benigni. Moreover, in the film the Fata has very deep feelings for the pup- pet, whom she praises twice for his beauty; in fact she never loses sight of him.
In the end, when Pinocchio becomes a "ragazzo perbene" and is com- plimented by the Fairy for abiding by familial and societal rules, to the Collodian words of Pinocchio, "com'ero buffo quando ero un burattino," Benigni's Fata juxtaposes "era un bel burattino. For Benigni the Fairy holds a subtle sadness because she knows that Pinocchio's beauty cannot last very long, she knows that "happiness is there, we can look at it, but we cannot reach it" Bruni, R7 yet it is our duty to search for it.
The Fata Turchina tries to make the beauty of the puppet last as long as possible because it is the puppet whom she loves, but she knows she will not succeed. Benigni's Pinocchio, then, is the ageless burattino who longs for an always elusive happiness which can make life beautiful. This festive, exuberant, child-like burattino, although not everybody's favourite, is the Pinocchio that Benigni has presented us with. This article proposes a comparative analysis of the three most impor- tant cinematic adaptations of Le avventure di Pinocchio in the past six decades. Each film version of Collodi's classic presents a Pinocchio suited for a different socio-cultural scene: From Disney's toy-boy for American post-depression era, to Comencini's poor boy of politically charged s Italy, to Benigni's ageless burattino for the present time.
As Disney's ani- mated picture, Comencini's teleromanzo, and Benigni's film have shown, Collodi's original continues to generate new and distinctive cinematic ver- sions of a classic that has reached iconic proportion University of Alberta Works Cited Some newspaper and magazine articles were downloaded from Internet sources and did not appear with the page number. In those citations n. Annibaletto, Stefano, Luchi Francesco. Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studio del novembre , ed. Giuseppe Flores d'Arcais. Anselmi, William. Beckett, Sandra.
Bevilacqua, Alberto. Biagi, Enzo. Ciotta Mariuccia. Il Manifesto 11 Oct. Collodi, Carlo. Le avventure di Pinocchio. Milan: Mondadori, Comencini, Luigi. Infanzia, vocazione, esperienze di un regista. Cudini, Pietro. Review of Pinocchio, by Roberto Benigni. Rivista dei libri, online edition Oct. Dagrada, Elena. Danna, Maria Paola. Demers, Patricia. Fedi, Roberto.
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Drammaturgia Oct. Ginsborg, Paul. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, Giusti, Marco. Gormo, M. Grieco, Davide. Hunter, Stephen. Washington Post 30 Dec. Landy, Marcia. Italian Film. Laura, Ernesto. Mitchell, Elvis. New York Times 26 Dec. Punter, Jennie. Potrei scendere acomprare qualcosa, ma non ho proprio voglia di fare la spesa. Numero Pagine Numero pagine Published by Montena About this Item: Montena, Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include supplemental or companion materials if applicable.
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