Tale of Tales: Garrone’s Lavishly Produced, Wildly Imaginative Italian Anthology of Fairy Tales

The_Tale_Of_Tales_5As directed by Matteo Garrone, Tale of Tales is a lavishly produced, darkly humorous, wildly imaginative, fantastical epic, composed of several fairy tales.



Inspired by the celebrated fairy tales of Giambattista Basile, the Neapolitan precursor to the Brothers Grimm, Tale of Tales world premiered in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Fest and will be released in the US in May in a platform mode.

The_Tale_Of_Tales_6In 2009, the gifted Italian director made a splash at the Cannes Film Fest with his crime epic, Gomorrah, followed by a lesser movie, Reality, which also played at this prestigious event–in other words, Garrone is a reliable Cannes presence.


Like Sorrentino’s English-speaking Youth (his first), Tale of Tales boasts an impressive international cast, which includes Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Toby Jones, Vincent Cassel, Shirley Henderson, and Stacy Martin.

Both weird and strange, Tale of Tales offers a fresh, unpredictable perspective on some dark and violent tales yarns whose characters recall those of the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault.

In one yarn, the Queen of Longtrellis (Salma Hayek), desperately yearns for a child, which she and her husband the King (John C. Reilly), are willing to go to extreme behavior in order to conceive.

The_Tale_Of_Tales_4Then there is the King of Highhills (Toby Jones, who is so obsessed with raising a giant flea that he barely notices his own daughter (Bebe Cave), whom he mistakenly marries off to a brutish monster.



In Strongcliff, two impoverished old sisters mistakenly attract the attention of the corrupt womanizing king (Vincent Casell), who is drawn to their song but has not yet seen their faces.

In this work, Garrone exceeds by far the wild imagination that British Terry Gilliam and American Tim Burton have shown in their earlier films. Navigating–not always smoothly–between these stories, Garrone weaves the beautiful with the grotesque, creating a unique work of Gothic imagination. Ultimately, the anthology walks a fine line between being both funny and unnerving, wildly attractive and truly gory.