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Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Italy awaits Benigni's Pinocchio
Roberto Benigni
Benigni says the Pinocchio contains religious analogies
Actor/director Roberto Benigni's much-anticipated version of Pinocchio will appear on a record 860 of the country's 3,000 screens when it opens on 12 October.

His $45m retelling of the classic fairy tale Pinocchio was shot amid tight security, according to industry publication Variety.


I have found many analogies between Pinocchio and the Bible

Roberto Benigni
No journalists were allowed onto the set, which is located inside a converted chemical factory in the southern village of Pignone, near Terni.

Miramax plans to release it worldwide at the end of 2002.

Terni's bishop, Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, was among the few people permitted onto the heavily guarded Pignone studio. He blessed the set and spoke with Benigni at length.

"I have found many analogies between Pinocchio and the Bible,'' the actor reportedly told the bishop.

"I have used some inspiration from Life Is Beautiful to teach religion; I hope I'll be able to do the same with Pinocchio.''

Famous fable

Benigni plays the title role. His wife, Nicoletta Braschi, plays the Blue Fairy.

The classic fable stars a puppet carved from a mysterious piece of wood.
Pinocchio
Pinocchio is the story of a puppet who comes to life

Pinocchio is a loveable-trouble maker whose nose grows whenever he tells a lie.

His greatest dream is to become a real boy, but before he can realise that goal, he must learn honesty through a series of adventures involving a talking cricket, a blue fairy, an evil puppeteer and a giant fish - characters which have become an integral part of Italian folklore.

Benigni won the lead actor Oscar in 1999 for Life is Beautiful,' an acclaimed Holocaust comedy.

See also:

11 May 01 | Media reports
15 Mar 01 | Entertainment
25 Mar 99 | Entertainment
22 Mar 99 | Entertainment
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