Tale of Tales

Tale of Tales movie poster

Tale of Tales poster

For his new film, the decidedly surprising filmmaker Matteo Garrone (Gomorra) revisits Neapolitan poet Giambattista Basile’s tales, showing once again he’s not averse to taking risks. Unfortunately, this time around, his ambitions fall short.

When watching Tale of Tales, it becomes clear that Mr. Garrone’s intent was to shake a film genre’s foundations:  Here, the princess does not wait to be saved by prince charming; rather she takes fate in her own hands killing the ogre who’s been keeping her prisoner in a cave. As for kings, they are libidinous, weak and pathetic while witches inspire pity rather than fear.

Tale of Tales starts with a beautiful sequence where a king battles a sea monster and brings its heart back to his wife so that she can have kids. The production values are undeniable luxurious from the sumptuous costumes and movie sets to the special effects and original creatures.

But the director’s excessive ambition is what’s failing this film. By attempting to mix 3 tales, he gets lost in narrative lines going in different directions and is never able to get back on his feet. The script seems manufactured and includes several useless sequences. Most importantly, Mr. Garrone’s aspirations at creating something grandiose can be seen as a self-conscious effort: he’s gunning for shock values, humor and gore, but he’s far from mastering all the references he’s including in his work. One gets the feeling he’s been speed-reading Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment, but the result looks like an unruly colorful carnival. His conclusion isn’t satisfying either, as if he had no idea how to end his story – think like Lost screenwriters were writing a fairy tale – leaving us fairly disenchanted.

Director: Matteo Garrone – Actors: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel – Running Time: 2:05 – Year: 2015 – Country: Italiy
Click here to watch the Tale of Tales trailer
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Moland Fengkov

Moland Fengkov

Based in Paris, Moland is a journalist and photographer; He is more particularly responsible for covering the Cannes film festival for Plume Noire, writing movie reviews and taking gorgeous pictures.
Moland Fengkov

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