Helped by a bit of magic, Duccio creates a robot from recycled parts.

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: 6:30

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4 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Enrico Bonino, Antonino Valvo

Director/s : Stefano De Felici, 

Writer/s : Federica Hulda Horrù, 

Actor/s : Claudio Abbiati, 


Creative spark

If you think the notion of an lonely old man building a little robot that comes to life is familiar, you’re supposed to. Especially when old Duccio is Italian, and sports a big white moustache like Disney’s rendering of the woodcarver who made a little puppet. If you were in doubt, Duccio starts reading a bedtime story to his robot: “Once upon a time, there was a woodcarver named Gappetto…”

This is as charming as a fairy tale should be. The narration is in rhyming couplets, and hats off to the translator who has found rhymes for the English subtitles too. Claudio Abbiati, whose eyes never stop smiling, is perfect as Duccio.

The robot, Ferruccio, bleeps away like R2D2 as he learns to bring breakfast and make coffee, apparently unbidden. By the end he’s reading to his new-found father. But Ferruccio has also learned to turn the TV on, he’s seen rockets and satellites, and he wants to fly.

It’s about achieving your dreams. All it takes is hard work and magic – probably a bit like making this film. The story concludes in the animated closing titles, a small shame, but presumably they ran out of resources for the next level of special effects.

This is a Pinocchio for the industrial age. The opening shots are of industrial wasteland and rusting rails; Duccio’s workshop is full of dismantled machines and circuit-bent electronics. Ducchio is short for Leonarduccio, the pet-name version of Leonardo, as in da Vanci, the inventor. Writer Federica Hulda Horru has followed the original: Gappetto is a diminutive of Giuseppe, Joseph, a well-known carpenter. Pinocchio comes from “pine”; Ferruccio has the same root as ferrous, as in iron.

Incidentally, the guy who started Lamborghini was Ferruccio. This little robot couldn’t be less like a Lamborghini, and that’s ironic.

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