Tale of Tales
Directed by Matteo Garrone
From the bitter quest of the Queen of Longtrellis, to two mysterious sisters who provoke the passion of a king, to the King of Highhills obsessed with a giant Flea, these tales are inspired by the fairytales by Giambattista Basile.
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★★★★ review by Hollie Horror on Letterboxd
Lavish sets, gorgeous costume designs, fairy-tale inspired horror fantasy that is also vaguely a horror anthology as it follows the stories of three separate royal families--YES PLEASE!
Tale of Tales is filmed entirely in Italy (being an Italian/French/UK co-production) and uses the enchanting natural locations to its advantage, there are incredible practical FX coupled with some problematic CGI but it isn't bad enough to really hinder the visual feast.
I was completely lost in this movie as the lush visuals were accompanied by a beautiful, twinkling score by Alexandre Desplat, I'm sure I'll return to it again as it hit all of my nostalgic '80s buttons that are clearly marked and labeled: FANTASY HORROR GORE DRAAAAMA!
★★★★ review by Gabriele Capolino on Letterboxd
Somewhere between Pasolini and Game of Thrones. Weird stuff. And pretty unique.
★★★★½ review by Dawson Joyce on Letterboxd
Hauntingly beautiful but also unapologetically twisted and bizarre, Tale of Tales makes for a strong addition to both the fantasy and horror genres, with gorgeous set designs and cinematography, a wonderful score, and excellent performances, particularly from Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, and Toby Jones.
★★★★½ review by voidember on Letterboxd
I loved this surrealist Boschian-Grimm fever dream. Ever since my third grade teacher, Mr. Kelly, read stories from The Magic Tree aloud to my classroom (a book that my sister eventually found at a used book sale and gave to me as a gift, a very personal, emotional gift), I've been chained heart and soul to the phantasmagoria of fairy tales. This is decidedly an adult fairy tale, but the truth is, all fairy tales started off as just stories for adults about humanity's absurdity tied with our desire for the strange. Over time, those stories became cautionary tales, then bedtime stories to teach children how to behave. But we were all children once. And there comes a day for all of us when our innocence is lost.
There are shots here so breathtaking they immediately belong alongside some of my favorite scenes in any film in cinema; there is an immense, singular aesthetic at work here, thanks to director Matteo Garrone and DP Peter Suschitzky, costume designer Massimo Cantini Parrini, and the art directors (Marco Furbatto, Massimo Pauletto, Gianpaolo Ruffino), makeup (a group of some 18 different people) and set designer (Alessia Anfuso), that plunges us into the visual language of an otherworld, a simultaneously ghastly and magical landscape. A sea monster asleep in the murky fog of a riverbottom, the impossibly long red hair of an enchanted maiden, the hazy aftermath of a Bacchanalian revelry orchestrated by an insatiable king, the dreamlike visages of two very special, very strange albino twins, castles on the pinnacles of mountaintops, Salma Hayek gorging on the gigantic heart of a beast, Toby Jones feeding raw meat to a flea the size of a large dog. I've rarely seen anything that entranced me so utterly.
The women suffer very much in this tale. Women in fairy tales are often the victims of extreme violence--like they are in real life--be it emotional or physical, and though it broke my heart often, I knew it to be a mirror to the fairy tales I experienced as a child, just starker, and more honest, but without needless gratuity. Life is immense pain for us and yet we survive, our defiance almost supernatural in itself. All the best fairy tales know this; women survive, above all. Women are magic.
I really loved this. I want more films like this. People talk about how great Tarsem Singh's The Fall is a lot; I think this is my The Fall.
★★★½ review by PUNQ on Letterboxd
Il racconto dei racconti [Tale of Tales] (2015), three bizarre fairy tales combined. All involving kingdoms, wizardry and monsters of some sort. Grotesquely exhilarating, and not quite turning out the way fairy tales usually do. One can complain that the pacing was a bit slow and perhaps leaving more questions unanswered then necessary, but everything else was carefully constructed into an amazing fairy tale thrill for adults.
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