Friday, April 24, 2015

2015 Cannes Check #5 - The Italians Part 2

From the three Italian directors in the main competition, Matteo Garrone is the one I know least even when he has more feature films than Paolo Sorrentino.

Matteo Garrone

Born on October 15, 1968 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. He graduates from the Art Lyceum in 1986 and works as an assistant cameraman for two years before turning painting. His first film a short called Silhoutte won the Sacher d'Oro, an award sponsored by Nanni Moretti. The 1996 short film became one of the three episodes in his first feature film, 1996 Terra di Mezzo. After a documentary in 1997 and a short film, in 1998 he does his second feature, Ospiti (Guests) that was screened in the Venice fest. His third film, 2000 Estate Romana (Roman Summer) opens in the official selection of the Venice festival.

His fourth film L'imbalsamatore (The Embalmer) gives him his first visit to Cannes as film was in the 2002 Directors' Fortnight section. Then his fifth film, Primo Amore (First Love) opens In Competition for a Golden Bear in 2004 Berlinale and won a Silver Bear for Best Film Music.

Then everything changes for this director as with his sixth film, Gomorra, wins his first Cannes Grand Prix plus many more international honors that made film and director renown all over the world. This is Garrone's first film I saw and was highly impressed with his raw visual style and realistic narrative style, besides Toni Servillo performance was outstanding. His seventh film, Reality, also won the Cannes Grand Prix but I was not impressed by film where believe director changed (too much) his visual and narrative style. You can deduce that I'm not that enthusiastic about this director, so comes as no surprise when I say that his eight film, Tales of Tales, does not generate big expectations for me. Still, as a two times Cannes Grand Prix winner, there are always possibilities that his style evolves once again into more interesting cinema territories.

Tale of Tales is his fourth time in Cannes and the third time In Competition. Perhaps you could call him a Cannes regular but truth is that with only eight (8) feature films he has well-traveled the three main festivals in the world, Cannes, Berlin and Venice.

Il Racconto dei Racconti (Tale of Tales) is his first English-language film with a very international cast; then we have to consider that for some actors, English is NOT their first language, which have to mean something, isn't?. Images in trailer gave me the impression of earlier films by Fellini, mainly due to the gross/grotesque/exaggerate elements present in scenes, but let's see what he does with the reality/fantasy elements in this story that were not present at all in Gomorra and Reality.

Film is loosely based on the collection of fairy tales by 17th century Italian author Giambattista Basile, which, among other stories, contains the earliest versions of famous fables like Rapuzel, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, later told by Brothers Grimm. Seems he chose less-known stories as the three stories in film comprise a yearning for youth and physical beauty, the suffering of a woman willing to do anything to have a child, generational conflict, the struggle for power; the three stories are: La Regina (Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Alba Rorhwacher), La Pulce (Toby Jones) and Le Due Vecchie (Vincent Cassel).

Basic info about Il Racconto dei Racconti (Tale of Tales)
Director: Matteo Garrone
Scriptwriters: Matteo Garrone, Ugo Chiti, Massimo Gaudioso and Edoardo Albinati
Language: English
Runtime: 125 mis
Production countries: Italy, UK and France
Production Companies: Le Pacte (Jean Labadie), Archimède Film (Matteo Garrone), Recorded Picture Company (Jeremy Thomas), New Sparta Films,
Distribution: Hanway Films for International Sales, Le Pacte (France), 01 Distribution (Italy)

Cast: Vincent Cassel, Salma Hayek, Toby Jones, John C. Reilly, Alba Rohrwacher

Plot Summary
From the bitter quest of a jealous Queen (Salma Hayek) who forfeits the life of her husband, to two mysterious sisters who provoke the passion of a King (Vincent Cassel), to a King obsessed with a giant Flea leading to heartbreak for his young daughter, these stories weave the beautiful with the grotesque, creating a stunning and unique work of gothic imagination.

Official Trailer

Italian Trailer (Italian dubbed)

Film Stills A selection of less-popular but beautiful stills ...

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