Tale Of Tales (2015)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

Original title:  Il Racconto Dei Racconti

Italy/France/United Kingdom, 2015.  Archimede, Le Pacte, Rai Cinema, HanWay Films, Recorded Picture Company, ,Fonds Eurimages du Conseil de l’Europe, , Regione Lazio, , , , , .  Screenplay by , , Matteo Garrone, , based on the book by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Matteo Garrone, , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Matteo Garrone turns away from the harsh contemporary realities of his recent films and applies his dark style to an adaptation of three fairy tales by seventeenth century storyteller Giambattista Basile.  is a queen who will do anything to have a child and must deal with the consequences of her determination, two aged sisters are rocked by one of them having an affair with a voluptuary king (, who is always on hand for naked perviness whenever a director needs it), and an eccentric king () whose obsession with his giant pet flea leads to his daughter being taken as wife to a giant ogre.  The narratives of these stories play like they were written by someone who kept pen in hand while having a virulent fever or taking hallucinogenic drugs, not lacking in sense but lacking a throughline and definitely not created for the purpose, like many fairy tales, of teaching a moral or practical lesson (at least not one I could glean).  Given that these tales involve giant insects, sea monsters, Salma Hayek eating a giant heart and  paying someone to flay her skin, the dark, crazy details of the stories should result in more eccentric fun, but Garrone directs like he’s creating the Gomorrah of fairy tales, heavy-handed and humourless and perfectly unconcerned with the fact that his tales all conclude without any closure after over two hours of sad wandering.

Cannes Film Festival:  In Competition


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