NZIFF – Tale on Tales review

Caught Tale of Tales directed by Matteo Garrone during the New Zealand International Film Fest.

One may walk out of the Civic either wondering ‘what did I just watch?’ or ‘that was bloody well brilliant’. I went in not knowing what I was in for, my friend said spare NZIFF tickets to a fairy-tale horror and I thought, sure.

Here’s what I came out thinking, Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Anderson would have loved it. I know now the narratives were based on three stories from 17th century Italian poet Giambattista Basile’s Pentamerone.

Super dark and super bloody, with no clear happy endings.

There were three narratives running throughout the film, a classic tale of a barren queen (Salma Hayek makes quite the overbearing queen, no?), the worst love game show since Black Eyed Peas’ ‘Don’t Phunk With My Heart’ (Toby Jones makes a great altogether absent father/king who cares more about a flea than his offspring), and the tale of the most coyote ugly one night stand meets Extreme Makeover.

One might say it’s pseudo-intellectual drivel, others might say it was a beautiful piece of work portraying different kinds of love and obsession in a dark fantasy setting.

You can’t deny that it’s beautifully shot, there are some rather stunning visuals of fantastical settings. Although watch out, they’ll catch you off guard and you’ll find yourself squinting a bit as the film switches from dark to light in zero seconds flat. The same could be said for the pacing, it’s slow before something happens at lightning speeds and before you know it you’ve killed your overbearing mum who’d turned into a giant mole-bat.

The story of the princess and the ogre is my favourite only because the princess got pretty badass by the end- sure it took a few unnecessary deaths (here’s a hint, to survive in this world don’t help others out), but she got through it. Like, heeeyyy- you survived! If anything it could have ended here and I would have been happy.

Three out of Five Silent (?) LOLs. Question mark because I laughed out loud at some things, as did the rest of the audience.

Honourable Mentions:

– The Queen of Hearts was sometimes every islander mum ‘I am your queen, do not forget that’ and sometimes not ENOUGH islander mum- I mean if Elias had made MY mum run through that maze looking for him let’s just say Elias should be glad his mum’s not Samoan.

– So much boobage.

– Also, there were some weird incesty undertones.

– “Flea”

Check out the trailer below:

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