One day before his newest film Pinocchio debuted at the BFI London Film Festival on Saturday (October 15), Oscar-winning director and producer Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) revealed that his mother died.
Del Toro made the announcement about his mother, Guadalupe del Toro, while introducing the film to the festival audience. “I just want to say, my mother just passed away, and this was very special for her and me,” he said. “This is not only the first time you’ll see the movie, it’s the first time she’ll see the movie with us.”
He also went on to say, “I saw the film as a kid and it’s a film that bonded me with my mom for an entire life.”
He also talked about the special connection he has to the 1940 animated Disney adaptation of Pinocchio, a story that was first introduced to readers in the 1883 novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Italian writer Carlo Collodi. Since then, the story has been adapted countless times for film, TV, and stage productions.
“I saw the film as a kid and it’s a film that bonded me with my mom for an entire life,” he said. “It affected me because Pinocchio saw the world the way I saw it. I was a little bit enraged that people demand obedience from Pinocchio, so I wanted to make a film about disobedience as a virtue, and to say that you shouldn’t change to be loved.”
In 1985, del Toro’s mother starred in the LGBTQ film Dona Herlinda and Her Son. She also starred in one of her son’s first short films, Geometry, a story about a young boy who is tired of failing geometry class, so he summons a demon who grants him three wishes.
Condolences came in for del Toro from all over the world, including words of sympathy from the Guadalajara International Film Festival and the Morelia International Film Festival.
On the red carpet before the Pinocchio premiere, del Toro used a miniature version of the wooden boy from his movie to say hello to fans.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is scheduled to be released at select theaters in November 2022, before it streams on Netflix on December 9, 2022.