Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review of 'Tale of Tales'

A stunning-looking Italian film, made in English with English-speaking actors, this is a set of three fairy-tales. They aren't really linked, except in a slightly gratuitous scene at the end, which contributes nothing to the plot of any of them.

This is worth watching for the locations alone, which are all in Italy - mainly in the South. The filming is wonderful, but the plots of all of the stories are very odd. There is far too much in them - too many magical objects and events, too many contrived elements, any one of which would have been enough for a story. It gives the tales a very dreamlike quality, so that the events happen sequentially but don't unfold out of each other in the way that 'realistic' narratives do.

I note that the tales are based on collections of tales by Neapolitan poet and courtier Giambattista Basile: "Pentamerone or Lo cunto de li cunti (Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones)", though I couldn't imagine anyone exposing contemporary children to anything as horrible as these stories. As I watched I remembered 'Our Ancestors', a collection of stories by Italo Calvino - The Baron in the Trees, The Cloven Viscount and The Non-Existent Knight - which had the same sort of dreamlike, implausible quality. Maybe Italian folk-tales are in some way closer to the collective unconscious from which they emerge, unaltered by rational editing to make them flow as stories? I dunno. Any Italian friends or folklorists able to advise?

Watched in the Middle Floor at Springhill via PC and informal distribution.

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