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International Tale of Tales (IL RACCONTO DEI RACCONTI)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by bigshot, May 20, 2016.

  1. Message #1 of 1 May 20, 2016
    Last edited: May 20, 2016

    bigshot Cinematographer

    Jan 30, 2008
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    Last night I screened the fantasy/horror film Tale of Tales, and it was fantastic. I had ordered the Italian region B blu-ray on the recommendation of a friend, and I'm very glad I did. It's three fairy tales interwoven into a gripping and sometimes horrifying narrative... But it isn't Disney style fairy tales or Princess Bride. It's more like the original folk tales. All the rough edges are left intact... there is sex and gore and monsters and betrayal and longing and painful struggle. It's definitely for adults, not children.

    The cinematography is breathtaking with amazing locations in deep forests and real castles. The real locations are seamlessly supplemented by digital environments, which for once are presented in a filmic way, much like matte paintings. No roller coaster flying cameras drawing attention to themselves. The monster effects are basic CGI but effective, and the story doesn't linger on them. The focus of the film is on the characters, and the acting is excellent, providing real personalities and points of view you can identify with, not just a cardboard cutout prince and a formula evil queen. The three stories are wonderful and they intertwine perfectly, setting up and playing out each story with clarity and perfect pacing.

    The blu-ray presents both English and Italian soundtracks in 5.1 DTS Master Audio and both English and Italian subtitles. This was an Italian/American co-production, so both are "original" and both include dubbing on some characters. The picture is definitely reference quality with perfect color and contrast and lots of detail, even in the shadows. The musical score is effective, with an Italian opera sort of sound to the strings. In fact, the film felt a bit like Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung.

    I minored in Folklore when I went to UCLA, and I recognized a lot of themes from this film from my studies. There were a few deviations... concessions to the modern place of women in society, a little bit of a scruffy Cirque du Solier feel at times... but overall, this film is true to the spirit of Romantic Charlemagne Era fairy tales like Perrault. I'm generally not a fan of "knights in armor fighting dragons" fantasy films (with the exception of Monty Python and the Holy Grail). But this film had the human passion, specific characters and edge that is too often lacking from that genre.

    I'll definitely be watching this one again... and again. If you can play region B, I recommend it.

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