Like most children's tales in the days of old, Carlo Collodi's 'The Adventures of Pinocchio' is a very adult affair. Before the 19th century, most written stories for young ones were not intended for pleasure reading, and existed mainly as practical instruction booklets. Nineteenth-century authors like the Brothers Grimm, Maria Elizabeth Budden and Hans Christian Andersen preserved the oral traditions of European folklore, creating magical fantasy worlds where the darkness was as prevalent as the light.
Collodi's tale of a marionette, created by a poor woodcarver named Geppetto, is not so much a fairy tale as it is an allegorical reality tale about the hardships of life. This puppet is a nasty little bugger too. He's mischievous in every way -- he lies, kicks, bites and kills a talking cricket. But he also gets as much as he dishes out -- his feet are burnt off, he's turned into a donkey, captured for an ogre's meal and hanged from a tree. That's where U.K. filmmaker Navin Dev's nine-minute short film, 'The Tree Man,' picks up.
Collodi's original version of 'Pinocchio' was meant to end on an unhappy note after Chapter 15, where the marionette is hanged for his bad behavior. The author added the familiar happier conclusion where Pinocchio is turned into a real boy, because his editors thought the original was too morbid for children (psh). Dev's short is totally creepy and almost feels like a scene out of Clive Barker's 'Hellraiser,' but some of the imagery depicts the happier ending that Collodi eventually added to his story.
Check out the clip below, which depicts the moments where Pinocchio slowly dies and "... spiritually journeys into an inferno of fear, guilt and hope through his encounters with key symbolic characters such as the Maiden With Azure Hair and the ghost of the Talking Cricket. As he falls deeper into darkness he learns the crucial dangers and virtues of the mortality he seeks." Let us know what you think.