Fantastic Fest – Buratino, Son of Pinnochio

Buratino, Son of Pinnochio is a very odd but good-hearted Estonian musical.  Buratino’s mother wishes upon a star for a son and is suddenly impregnated by a…  Fairy rape splinter from heaven, I guess?  Anyway, she comes to full term immediately and has a wooden boy as a son, who as soon as he loses his bark looks normal (as normal as anyone looks hereabouts).  Flash forward to the teen years, and Buratino and his friends in “Badville” go over to roust the citizens of “Goodville” for spare cash and outrun/terrorize their police force.  The bizarrely costumed youth gang brings to mind images from A Clockwork Orange (though the tone is diametrically opposite). Eventually some bad guy from Goodville (that’s a good name for a band!) named Karabas Barabas sends his thugs after Buratino to kidnap him to get some kind of “seeds” from inside him.  And he has a hot blue-haired daughter, Malvina, who Buratino naturally falls in love with at first sight.

I thought Buratino was charming and upbeat, if not very polished.  Characters frequently burst into song so you get a bit of rock opera thing going on.  The twists and turns are humorously bizarre (Pinnochio himself, who no one knew was Buratino’s father prior to this, turns up later on) and there’s all kinds of over the top cartoon style silliness (to see for long distances, people just make their hands into binoculars; people get exploded and tossed a quarter mile and only end up disheveled).  Sure, it’s goofy, but has a real heart.  It was Rasmus Merivoo’s first film done while he was in school on a shoestring budget and a very short timeline, and shot in Russia to boot.

Buratino, Son of Pinnochio was fun, weird, and happy.  The musical bits are surprisingly good.  The rest is obviously low budget but solidly done.  I enjoyed its off-beat humor.

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