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Panorama Picks: 'Tale of Tales'

As the 8th Panorama of the European Film prepares to kick off, we got to check out one of their featured films, 'Tale of Tales'. Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Toby Jones and Vincent Cassel, star in this fantastical romance that threads several stories together.

Staff Writer

Panorama Picks: 'Tale of Tales'

The 8th Panorama of the European Film is set to kick off this week with a flurry of fantastic movies from across the continent. We got a sneak preview of one of the movies set to appear in the festival, Tale of Tales. 

Tale of Tales - as in, the tale to match all tales, or as in the tale of many tales? We believe it's both, since Tale of Tales is a tale of three simultaneous tales that would rival any tale that was ever told. Extensive use of the word tale here! Nevertheless, Tale of Tales - or Il Racconto Dei Racconti - is a fantasy film adaptation of the book written by Italian author, Giambattista Basile. The film is Italian director Matteo Garrone’s English-speaking film debut, starring, John C. Reilly, Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, and Toby Jones.

Three fairytales are strewn across the film, intertwining only at brief moments. Italian actors Alba Rohrwacher and Massimo Ceccherini play a traveling family circus; John C. Reilly and Salma Hayek play a king and queen willing to do anything to bear child; Vincent Cassel plays a promiscuous king whose passion for women drives him into the arms of an old crone and her strange sister; Toby Jones perfectly embodies a fidgety, peculiar king who develops an unhealthy fascination with a flea, and who is later responsible for an unfortunate event happening to his only daughter. The story is set in a mythical medieval world - not too fantastical, though, so don't expect flying broomsticks or talking hats, yet an angry ogre is never far away.

As the events of the story unfold, you become fascinated by the wonderful aesthetic; the wardrobe and the architecture are beautiful, different styles of clothes and buildings are displayed, and, although each story seems to be within a kingdom of its own, all of the tales' heroes are brought together on several occasions. The music is simple and surreal, subtly complementing the plot. 

The movie climaxes, alternating between master scenes from all of the stories happening at the same time, yet somehow doesn't lose plot. It serves to portray several important life lessons, and still does not become boring - it actually remains very entertaining throughout. It can get a bit eerie at tomes, and, due to several fairly naked fair maidens, is not recommended for the younger ones.

So, if you like fictional fantasy and enjoy the likes of Game of Thrones and Lord of The Rings, then you are sure to enjoy Tale of Tales. If you care not for such pictures but wouldn't mind nudity, a fantastic plot, and some very creepy - sometimes scary - moments, then this is one for your bucket list.

Tale of Tales will be showing at Panorama on the 28th of November. You can find out full details about the movie's showing here and check out CairoScene's cinema section here.