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Film / Tale of Tales

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Salma Hayek as the Queen of Longtrellis
Tale of Tales (2015) is a dark fantasy film based on the Pentamerone, a collection of fairytales written by 17th century poet Giambattista Basile. It features a star studded cast, with Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones, and John C. Reilly having top billing. It is director Matteo Garrone's first English-speaking film.
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Not to be confused with the Russian animated short of the same name.


This Film provides examples of:

  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Violet's wonderful crowning ceremony as Queen of Highhill; all the other royal characters from Strongcliff and Longtrellis intervene to pay their respects.
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: When Violet comes back to Highhill she still wears the dress she had on the day she was married off to the ogre, now tattered and blood-splattered as she has just slaughtered her ogre husband.
  • Book-Ends: The film opens and closes on circus performances.
  • Darker and Edgier: Yes, the original tales were not aimed at children, but also were much more whimisical and light-hearted, and also not as explicit in their violence and sexuality aspect as the movie is. The original ending of "The Flayed Old Lady" (one of the tales adapted by this movie) was intended to be darkly humorous while here is Played for Horror. As it is mentioned in Death By Adaptation (see below) the circus performers who rescue Violet are gruesomely killed by the ogre in a sequence which almost seems taken from a Slasher Horror film.
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  • Damsel out of Distress: In the end, Violet has to rescue herself, and does she ever.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the source material the circus performers manage to rescue Violet. Here instead they are gruesomely killed by the ogre, who is in turn killed by Violet herself.
  • Easily Forgiven: Upset because of the Bed Trick, the King of Strongcliff has his guards throw Dora out of the castle window. As soon as Dora miraculously regains her youth and beauty, she meets the King in the woods and the two are soon betrothed, apparently without issue on her part about the attempted murder.
  • Eye of Newt: The queen of Longtrellis needs to eat a sea monster's heart cooked by a virgin in order to have a child.
  • Heroic Albino: Elias and Jonah are apparently both albino, judging by their looks. Both are also good men.
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  • I Am A Humanitarian: Some of the bones in the ogre's lair are human. In the source material he is explicitly described as a cannibal.
  • Identical Stranger: Elias and Jonah. Amazing, seeing as how they both have unnaturally white hair and eyebrows. They're actually related through magic, though it's unclear if anyone involved realizes this. You'd think they couldn't help but notice, though.
  • Impossible Task: The King of Highhills promises his daughter to whoever can guess what animal the giant flea's hide is from, expecting that no-one will be able to guess such a crazy answer.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Again, the Queen of Longtrellis eating a dragon's heart as seen in the page image. It's not like the Necromancer said anything about not using a knife and a fork...
  • Marital Rape License: The ogre naturally forces himself on Violet shortly after he gets her back to his lair.
  • My Beloved Smother: Taken Up to Eleven and further. The Queen of Longtrellis is insane about her son.
  • Not Quite Dead: You'd think the ogre would have died falling into the deep chasm, but he just shows up again after a while.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: The ogre whom Violet is "married" to is a large, bald, brutish, strong man who lives in a cave.
  • Power at a Price: The Necromancer's advice to the Queen of Longtrellis is made of this. First he advises the queen to eat a dragon's heart if she wants to get pregnant, and the king dies fighting the dragon. Then he changes the queen into a monster herself to have her kill Jonah in exchange for the safe return of her son Elias, but she's killed by Elias himself.
  • Prince and Pauper: The son of the Queen of Longtrellis and his identical, low-born counterpart.
  • Really Gets Around: The King of Strongcliff is not only The Casanova, he often partakes in hedonistic orgies.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: The Queen of Longtrellis eating a dragon's heart, not from hunger, but for the magic promised her.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The King of Longtrellis goes himself hunting a water dragon in an underwater fight without a second thought and kills it. He dies because of his wounds, though.
  • Sacrificial Lion: The King of Longtrellis as described above in Royals Who Actually Do Something. The guy had cojones.
  • Silence Is Golden: As it happens in this current of Italian filmmaking, most scenes have non-existent dialogue.
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