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|Originaltitel:||Tale of tales|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 134 min.|
|FSK:||From 12 years|
Once upon a time... a land full of magic and mystical beings. Here three kingdoms coexist in peaceful harmony. The Queen of Longtrellis (Salma Hayek) desires nothing more than a child. But unfortunately the king (John C. Reilly) has not been able to give her a present yet, which is why he uses unusual means: the heart of a sea monster is supposed to bring about an immediate pregnancy. But of course such a spell demands its price. In neighbouring Strongcliff, the king (Vincent Cassel) indulges in his fondness for beautiful women, but is a little bored because he is sure that he has had every woman from his kingdom in his bed by now. But then he falls head over heels in love with a mysterious woman whose face he has not yet seen. But her voice alone is enough to drive him crazy. He doesn't suspect that the beloved is the ugly old woman Dora (Hayley Carmichael), who lives in complete seclusion with her sister Imma (Shirley Henderson). But then a spell turns her into a beautiful young woman (Stacy Martin) - with unexpected consequences. And also in Highhill the single king (Toby Jones) has to fight with very special problems. After the death of his beloved giant flea, he calls for a competition: anyone who can guess which animal the flea was can marry his daughter Violet (bebe Cave). It's just too bad that a wild ogre is the winner of the competition...
For his latest film the celebrated filmmaker Matteo Garrone ("Gomorrah") three of a total of 50 fairy tales from the book "Il Racconto die Racconti", in German "Das Märchen der Märchen", interwoven by Giambattista Basile (1570 - 1632) to a bizarre-grotesque picture rush. Although there are fairies, mythical creatures and a beautiful queen, this film is truly not for children. Garrone is not only stingy with beautiful and imaginative pictures, but also with cruelty and eroticism, with gloomy despair and deadly love. No wonder, since these are all ingredients of the original, which already inspired the Brothers Grimm to some of their fairy tales. With great costumes, a great set and atmospheric locations, "Das Märchen der Märchen" is really a visual feast for the senses.
This is only true to a limited extent for the rest of the production, though. In many scenes, Garrone relies on a luxuriant slowness, which at times makes the narrative flow seem tenacious. At the same time, some plot elements are only hinted at, which is why some viewers might ask themselves from time to time what the whole thing is all about. Of course the stories are fairy tales with a lot of symbolism and room for interpretation. Not everything has to be explained down to the last detail. But since some of them might simply lose interest in thinking about the meaning of the stories because of some enormous lengths, the dramaturgy can seem a bit thin.
The unwieldy staging clearly dims the entertainment value of the fairy tale film, which is so successful in other aspects. What should only be fun is often just exhausting, which even the great pictures can't catch any more at some point. Surely, it can be credited to Garrone that he staged such a film beyond the mainstream and thus created something really own and special. And there will certainly be viewers who will appreciate exactly that about this work. But it would certainly have been feasible to combine artistic ambition and creative independence with accessibility for a wider audience. Thus, "Das Märchen der Märchen" has become an artistically valuable, yet contentwise a bit too elitist and thus undercooled film, which from a visual point of view deserves to be able to appeal to more viewers. Worth seeing only with some exceptions
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