Tale of Tales / Il Racconto Dei Racconti – Once Upon A Time In Italy

We all know the tales of the Brother’s Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, but these fairy tales from Giambattista Basile has evaded many even though his stories are thought to be the oldest versions of many fairy tales proceeding. These stories, with their dark edge and even oddness are still universal, though not one to show the kids at an early age.


In a land of Italian fairy tales many stories are taking place. Queen of Longtrellis wishes for a child. King of Strongcliff lusts for a woman he has not yet seen. King of Highhills gets friendly with a flea. His daughter Violet, Princess of Highhills is married to an ogre. A Prince and a Pauper become friends. Two sisters fight for the love of a King. With twists of these tales the stories connect and come together in fairy tales that are both bizarre and familiar.



This is a very beautiful movie, from location to costumes. The wide lens makes us see these characters in the environment showing their place in it, one part of a massive world where fairy tale logic rules. The clothes are beautiful 17th century royal robes that re historically accurate as well as beautiful and tell a story of the characters wearing them. The aesthetic is truly something familiar with something unfamiliar. The Italian wide shots and open space mixed with fairy tales of long ago. There is no exposition or wasted lines or scenes that go on too long, here a picture tells  a thousand tales and you have all the information you need knowing this is a fairy tale world.

The acting is very strong in this movie, though they are stock characters the actors and actresses give depth to them and personality with real human problems. There are so many good actors in prominent roles in this, but you’ll have to contend with me talking about just two of them that stood out for me.

Salma Hayek as Queen of Longtrellis with her strong presence and determination that strive’s her forward in her quest. Her love for her son exceeds everything, even when she is plainly being a bad person she still has us sympathies with her because we’ve seen what she has gone through.

Another stand out is Bebe Cave as Violet, Princess of Highhills who gets married to an ogre. Her innocence and vulnerability make her the most classic fairy tale princess whose life changes through circumstances not in her control. She is absolutely adorable and cute and kind, but like in all fairy tales, that doesn’t decree she is to have a happy life.



This story sweeps you in to its world and doesn’t look back with its simple music and simple stories where complicated human emotions reign. This story is never boring as you have so much to follow with each character. I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested or a little bit curious, oh and try to get it in HD, the costumes and atmosphere and story really best in that kind of high quality.



Thank you for reading! 

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