Tale of Tales

Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone delivers a violent and gloriously mad phantasmagoria of magic and wonder

Film Review by Patrick Gamble | 08 Jun 2016
  • Tale of Tales
Film title: Tale of Tales
Director: Matteo Garrone
Starring: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones, John C. Reilly, Shirley Henderson, Hayley Carmichael, Bebe Cave, Stacy Martin, Christian Lees, Jonah Lees
Release date: 17 Jun
Certificate: 15

Once upon a time, fairy tales were sinister allegories of dogma-like wisdom preaching lessons in morality. Sadly, today they’re best remembered in a more anaesthetised form as animated family films. With Tale of Tales, Italian director Matteo Garrone looks to re-appropriate the genre, creating a triptych of lurid fables of blood curdling violence that would never make it past the Disney censors.

Drawing its influence from the 17th century Neapolitan fairy tales of Giambattista Basile and boasting the type of baroque production design Italian cinema was once famous for, Tale of Tales sees the rulers of three neighbouring kingdoms tested by magic. Despite abandoning the heightened social-realism of Gomorrah and Reality for a world of ogres, soothsayers and gigantic fleas, Garrone’s gloriously mad excursion into this magical realm is rife with pertinent lessons about inequality, patriarchy and society’s growing obsession with youth and beauty. A phantasmagoria of magic and wonder, Tale of Tales casts a strange yet seductive spell that audiences will be powerless to resist. 

Released by Curzon/Artificial Eye