Del Toro explores fascism and puppets in dark animated ‘Pinocchio’

LOS ANGELES, United States —When Guillermo del Toro first set out to make a dark, animated version of “Pinocchio” 15 years ago, he opted to set his tale of puppets and their string-pulling masters in 1930s fascist Italy.

The characters of elderly woodcarver Geppetto and his exuberant living puppet Pinocchio were first created in an 1883 Italian novel, and later popularized by Disney.

But in “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” out on Netflix next month, they find themselves living in Benito Mussolini’s inter-war world of military salutes, strict conformity and violent machismo.

“I wanted (to set the film in) a moment in which behaving like a puppet was a good thing,” del Toro…

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