Monday, 4 July 2016

tale of tales (w&d. matteo garrone, w. edoardo albinati, ugo chiti, massimo gaudioso)

Go and see this of an afternoon. That’s my biggest tip regarding Garrone’s fairy tale mash-up, with its three narratives condensed into a single film. Go and see it in a week when your country hasn’t committed an act of political suicide, when there isn’t a football match on you might want to catch, when it’s raining outside, when you are ready to be distracted. If you do go and see it whilst your country is committing auto-da-fe, don’t hold it against the movie. These might be rules for any moviegoer, at any point in history, but they struck me as particularly so on Friday evening at the end of a long Soho day. It took me a while to let the world slip away. During the opening half hour or so, Tale of Tales felt like it could end up being Tale of Tales of Tales of Tales of Tales of Tales etcetera. The pacing seemed slack and the rhythm clumsy, with that Euro-pudding use of English language feeling particularly unwieldy, allied to some less-than-convincing special effects, or were they merely retro. More Jason and the Argonauts than the latest 3D extravaganza. Then, gradually, the film’s clumsy charm started to take effect. Hints of Calvino’s folk tales or Carter’s fairy nightmares. The sense of an Italian spell being woven, with the beauty of the film’s locations being employed to full effect, with the slightly caricatured acting starting to feel like it was hitting the right notes, rather than being out of key. By the end, in spite of my anxiety regarding the outcome of that other fairytale, Wales-Belgium, Tale of Tales, with its silly English language title and its idiosyncratic aesthetic, had just about convinced me that this hadn’t been the week when the world had gone mad, Rather it was an ordinary week within a mad, mad world, one which has always been thus and shall continue to be so. Garrone’s oddball kings, queens and princes are less atypical than they at first appear, perfect company for an idle, unchained afternoon. 

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