No Strings (2012) – By Philip Smolen

Pinocchio (Antonio Paula) has reached the end of the line. He is tired of waking up in fleabag hotels and living the life of a drug addict. He yearns to find the blue fairy to take him away from all of his troubles. So he and two friends (Julian Sapala and Alexandra Miniard) decide to make a dangerous drug deal with a well connected thug as a final chance to escape their desperation. But if it doesn’t go right, Pinocchio won’t have to worry about finding his beloved blue fairy.

“No Strings” is a 14 minute short film by Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Toscano. It is a dark and riveting look down the rabbit hole. Toscano aligns his tale of drug abuse and despair with the classic Pinocchio story and the parallels between both stories are frightening. Here, Pinocchio’s main conflict is not whether he wants to be a real boy, but whether or not he wants to live in the real world any longer.

Toscano directs confidently and his characters are well-sketched and believable. The film also features outstanding photography and excellent production values. All of the performances are uniformly good, especially that of Antonio Paula as the conflicted Pinocchio.
This is a fascinating short and well worth a look. Just don’t go in expecting something light and frothy like the Disney version of the story. This is a heavy film full of moving and troubled characters.

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