Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What To Expect From Matteo Garrone’s "Tale of Tales" by "The Thinker's Garden" Custodian (& Film Update via FTNH)

Maxfield Parrish, "Romance," 1992
Reposted in full with kind permission by Andrew Manns, Founding Editor of a wonder-filled place on the web called The Thinker's Garden

Film Preview:
What to expect from Matteo Garrone’s Tale of Tales

Matteo Garrone, the same director who made the graphic and telling Gomorrah crime film in 2008, is now hard at work on Tale of Tales, a fantasy film based on Giambattista Basile’s PentameroneProduction is taking place in various locations around Italy, and the cast reportedly includes A-listers John C. Reilly, Vincent Cassel, and Salma Hayek.
First published between 1634 and 1636, The Pentamerone, also known as The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones, is one of the earliest written collection of fairytales and one of the source texts for the Brothers Grimm. Its author Basile was a Neapolitan soldier, courtier, and poet who was influenced by Italian oral folktales and elements of his own adventures. New Sparta Films released a statement saying the film is a ‘fantastic journey through the Baroque era’, but what else can we expect from Garrone’s interpretation?
1. Dark Fantasy
The Bacchante, Jean-Léon Gérôme 1853. A woman transforms into a goat-creature in Basile's tale, 'The Goat-Face'
The Bacchante, Jean-Léon Gérôme 1853. A woman transforms into a goat-creature in Basile’s tale, ‘The Goat-Face’
Giambattista Basile’s tales are full of magic and funny moments, but there are also a few stories with dark and disturbing themes; much like in Greco-Roman myths.  Sun, Moon, and Talia (an early version of Sleeping Beauty) casually depicts the sexual assault of a slumbering princess, Penta with the Chopped-off Hands details the incestuous intentions of a king, and The Myrtle  illustrates the violent murder and dismembering of a fairy princess. Garrone may not try to recreate these particularly explicit scenes, but it’s not difficult to imagine his film exploring the corruptive and decadent aspects of the human psyche within the larger background of Southern Italy in the 17th century. At the time, Naples was full of elite literati but it also had its fair share of revolts, superstitions, religious upheavals, feudalistic petty nobles, wandering bandits, and disease. Perhaps this is why Garrone revealed in a recent Variety interview that he conceives of his movie as a ‘fantasy film with horror elements’.
2. On-Location Wonders 
Interior of Castello Sammezzano
Interior of Castello Sammezzano
Basile’s fables often unfold in crystal tunnels, subterranean palaces, enchanted woods, or among families of ogres. Garrone’s scouting team is maintaining Basile’s aesthetic of mystique by using lesser known locations in rural Italy for the film sets. So far the cast and crew have been spotted at places such as Castello Sammezano, a peculiar estate built in the Moorish Revival style, Castel del Monte in Apulia, the spooky Bosco del Sasseto near Torre Alfina in Viterbo, and the Etruscan Necropolis and network of ruined roads in Sovana and Sorano.
3. Neapolitan Early Modern culture
Giambattista Basile

Giambattista Basile
The film will be made in English, but that doesn’t mean Garrone will leave out all the Neapolitan colloquialisms and vernacular cultures which originally made Basile’s work famous in the first place. One of the most hilarious verbal exchanges takes place in the first chapter of The Pentameronewhen an old woman and young boy level insults at each other:
One day while Zoza was sitting at the window as sourly as a pickle an old woman chanced to pass by. She began to fill a jar she had brought with her, sopping up the oil with a sponge, and as she was busily going about her task a certain devil of a court page threw a stone at her with such precision that it hit the jar and broke to pieces.
The old woman, who Basile reminds the reader, ‘let no one ride on her back’ then gives the prankster a piece of her mind :
Ah you worthless thing, you dope, shithead, bed pisser, leaping goat, diaper ass, hangman’s noose, bastard mule! Just look even fleas can cough now! Go on, may paralysis seize you, may your mother get bad news, may you not live to see the first of May!…Scoundrel, beggar, son of a taxed woman, rogue!
The boy counters with:
Why don’t you shut that sewer hole, you bogeyman’s grandmother, blood-sucking witch, baby drowner, rag shitter, fart gatherer?
The old woman then responds by lifting up her skirt and revealing her ‘woodsy scene’.
Garrone may not take the obscenities that far, but his other Neapolitan films have featured  bawdy dialogue and it’s possible that he may attempt to retain some level of plain-speech and traditional Campanian humour in Tale of Tales.

If you’d like to catch up on Basile’s Pentamerone before the movie comes out in 2015, the best and most recent version is Nancy Canepa’s 2007 edition.
Thank you Custodian!

The Thinker's Garden is full of mythical and wonderful posts! This article was originally published on August 14, 2014 by The Thinker's Garden Custodian. If you liked this, you're sure to find other articles you'll like too, so go have a visit! Click HERE.

And now a film update on Matteo Garrone's Tale of Tales
from your Fairy Tale News Hound:
The following update on Tale of Tales was posted on an Italian film website. According to a variety of foreign film and entertainment review sites, Tale of Tales is one of the most anticipated films in Europe for 2015, although it's difficult to find out much more than the following with such a closed set:
 Great expectations for Matteo Garrone that, surrounded by the greatest secrecy, has created a personal version de Pentamerone of Giambattista Basile . Tale of Tales - Tale of Tales (May 14) was filmed in English and starring international stars such as Salma Hayek , Vincent Cassel , Toby Jones , John C. Reilly , along with Italian Alba Rohrwacher .  (Auto-translated from Italian, source)

The only release information currently available is for Italy, UK and France, with May 14, 2015 set as the date for opening in theaters. There are no posters, teasers, promotional shots or trailers yet (that I am aware of). The latest update reported from movieplayer.it, discusses the visual impact (apparently "stunning") though I am, unfortunately,  unable to find any of said images online (yet!):

The first images of the much mountedTale of Tales , Tale of Tales , the new film by Matteo Garrone . Extraordinary images - says the Director of 01 Luigi Lonigro - after seeing them we realized that we could not open our convention in a different way . " And in fact it is amazing images: you recognize some of the characters, from Vincent Cassel to Salma Hayek , Toby Jones and John C. Reilly , the setting is fabulous and baroque-inspired collection of seventeenth-century fairy tales Pentamerone The element of fantasy is pregnant, the effect is stunning.

A little more from a previous article while shooting from taking place reveals a smidge more information about what we might see:

The shooting, which will last about four months, will affect different regions of Italy, showing mysterious landscapes and still secret places, among castles, villas and gardens still unknown. 
The subject of the film is inspired by and loosely based Pentamerone of Giambattista Basile , genial Neapolitan author of the seventeenth century whose tales are universally recognized as forerunners of the whole fairytale literature of later centuries. The project, whose development has participated in the same Matteo Garrone, collaborating in the writing of the story and screenplay with Edward Albinati , Ugo Chiti and Massimo Gaudioso , is proposed as a large fresco in fantastic Baroque period, told through the stories of three kingdoms and their respective sovereigns. "I chose to approach the world of Basile for I have found in his fairy tales that mixture between reality and fantasy that has always characterized my artistic research. The stories told in The story of the stories describe a world in which are summarized opposites of life: the ordinary and the extraordinary, the magical and the everyday, the royal and the scurrilous, the terrible and the suave " says Garrone. (auto-translated from Italian, source)

It's also been described by the director as "...a fantasy set in 1600..". Here's a bit more from a what seems to be the only press given during filming, while Garrone was on set at "Castel de Monte" for Tale of Tales during July of 2014 (all pictures are from this location and this day):

Beyond the time, then, what really away The Tale of Tales from the rest of the film Garrone is a component that you can very well define the supernatural:
The element fairytale I think it's a bit 'in all my films, but this is the first time I'm telling stories related to supernatural elements, a magical tales. It is a completely new adventure.
"The King Is Dead" (scene)
An adventure that promises to be particularly spectacular, especially from the visual point of view:

I come from painting, my training is pictorial and this is a movie where the visual aspect is predominant. The tales of Basile born as a form of entertainment, lend themselves to a dramatic development, film and I hope that this film has also a component of spectacle and entertainment. In fact I am the first to be curious to see it. 
It is a film that tell three stories that intertwine, a bit 'on the structure of Gomorrah. Salma Hayek is the protagonist of a story, Vincent Cassel another and Toby Jones is the protagonist of the story that will develop in Puglia. The main casting was done in London, then there are secondary roles that involve some Italian actors and then there is the participation of Alba Rohrwacher and Massimo Ceccherini, which will play an important enough. 

There is an Italian news video HERE in which you can see a little more of the castle and "props" from that day.

What do you think? Are you excited? I am. A grownup, European-made, diversely cast, fairy tale with a large visual fantasy element? (And in English so we can see all this as the director originally conceived?) Yes please!


  1. So excited for such unusual source material! Please let us know when it's available in the US!

  2. "Fart gatherer"! That's great! I have to find a chance to use that insult.