‘Horror story for kids’: Italian director to remake Pinocchio

Matteo Garrone, the Italian director best known for his mafia drama Gommorah, is preparing to shoot a live-action version of Pinocchio that is sure to tell a very different story from the Disney version.

'Horror story for kids': Italian director to remake Pinocchio
A Pinocchio puppet in Rome. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Garrone will base his Italian-language film on the original fairytale by Tuscan author Carlo Collodi and plans to start shooting in the author's hometown in the autumn, he told Variety magazine.

His version will compete not only with the 1940 Disney cartoon that made the story famous worldwide, but the studio's big-budget, live-action remake, which is also expected to start filming this year. 

But apart from the name, Garrone's movie looks likely to have little in common with the American versions. 

“The challenge is to tell the story that everybody thinks they know; but actually very few do, because there are very few people who have actually read Collodi's book,” he told Variety.

On reading the original, he was surprised to find “a world of poverty, where there is plenty of violence”. Or, as British producer Jeremy Thomas, who is working with Garrone on the film, put it: “It's a horror story for kids.”

READ ALSO: The stunning movie scene locations you simply have to visit in Italy

Photo: Kassandra2/Deposit Photos

Poverty, violence and horror are what Garrone's fans have come to expect from the director, who came to international renown with his adaptation of Italian journalist Roberto Saviano's book about the mafia's brutal grip on Naples. He followed it up with the bleak reality-TV comedy Reality and Tale of Tales, an dark, English-language fantasy based on Italian fables. 

His latest work, Dogman, tells the real-life story of a Rome dog groomer who committed one of Italy's most gruesome murders. 

Despite having a considerably smaller budget than Disney, the Italian team believes their version – due out before Disney's release, in late 2019 – has one big advantage: location. 

“Italy offers up incredible locations and space to make a film in, and that is a special weapon for us,” Thomas said, adding that they plan to shoot in southern Italy as well as Tuscany.



Why Friday the 13th isn’t an unlucky date in Italy

Unlucky for some, but not for Italians. Here's why today's date isn't a cause for concern in Italy - but Friday the 17th is.

Why Friday the 13th isn't an unlucky date in Italy

When Friday the 13th rolls around, many of us from English-speaking countries might reconsider any risky plans. And it’s not exactly a popular date for weddings in much of the western world.

But if you’re in Italy, you don’t need to worry about it.

There’s no shortage of strongly-held superstitions in Italian culture, particularly in the south. But the idea of Friday the 13th being an inauspicious date is not among them.

Though the ‘unlucky 13’ concept is not unknown in Italy – likely thanks to the influence of American film and TV – here the number is in fact usually seen as good luck, if anything.

The number 17, however, is viewed with suspicion and Friday the 17th instead is seen as the unlucky date to beware of.

Just as some Western airlines avoid including the 13th row on planes, you might find number 17 omitted on Italian planes, street numbering, hotel floors, and so on – so even if you’re not the superstitious type, it’s handy to be aware of.

The reason for this is thought to be because in Roman numerals the number 17 (XVII) is an anagram of the Latin word VIXI, meaning ‘I have lived’: the use of the past tense apparently suggests death, and therefore bad luck. It’s less clear what’s so inauspicious about Friday.

So don’t be surprised if, next time Friday 17th rolls around, you notice some Italian shops and offices closed per scaramanzia’.

But why then does 13 often have a positive connotation in Italy instead?

You may not be too surprised to learn that it’s because of football.

Ever heard of Totocalcio? It’s a football pools betting system in which players long tried to predict the results of 13 different matches.

There were triumphant calls of ho fatto tredici! – ‘I’ve done thirteen’ – among those who got them all right. The popular expression soon became used in other contexts to mean ‘I hit the jackpot’ or ‘that was a stroke of luck!’

From 2004, the number of games included in Totocalcio rose to 14, but you may still hear winners shout ‘ho fatto tredici’ regardless.

Other common Italian superstitions include touching iron (not wood) for good luck, not toasting with water, and never pouring wine with your left hand.