Tale of Tales

Dir Matteo Garrone, with Salma Hayek and Toby Jones

This was great fun – fairy tales for grown-ups, with much wit and horror. The cinematography was brilliant and colourful, and I can still see some of the images in my head. Everyone and everything was either dazzlingly beautiful, striking or ugly: there was nothing ordinary anywhere. And it wrong-footed me: the nasty ogre was not a handsome prince in disguise but just a nasty ogre.

I loved it. It was like being a child again with a storybook that doesn’t leave out the bit about Snow White’s stepmother dancing on hot coals or the ugly sisters having their eyes pecked out. It had that perfect logic of fairy tales: “And then the King . . . ” or “Along came an old crone and . . .”. It was wonderful to watch a film just for enjoyment and pleasure and to hell with plausibility or interpretation. None of that wondering what to make of the starfish or the red trunks as with Evolution!

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