IFC Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Tale of Tales, a fantasy film that marks the English-language debut of acclaimed Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah, Reality). The movie, which recently made its world premiere in competition at the recently concluded Cannes Film Festival, is headlined by an international ensemble that includes Oscar nominees Salma Hayek (Frida) and John C. Reilly (Chicago). Vincent Cassel (Black Swan), Toby Jones (Infamous), and Shirley Henderson (Trainspotting) co-star.
Centering around intertwining fairy tales inspired by the works of Giambattista Basile, Garrone co-wrote the screenplay with Edoardo Albinati, Ugo Chiti, and Massimo Gaudioso. In the film, Hayek portrays the jealous Queen of Longtrellis, who goes on a quest to have a child, while Cassel portrays the King of Strongcliff, a king in a neighboring kingdom whose passions are riled by two mysterious sisters. The efforts appear to set the fairy tale genre on its head, offering a spiked and decidedly morbid take on its conventions.
While the film seemed to spark a bit of debate following its Cannes premiere, some critics spoke highly of it. Variety‘s Peter Debruge wrote in his review, “Taken together, the parables serve primarily to entertain—an effect that has as much to do with Garrone’s command of the cinematic language as it does the content itself.” Comparisons were made with recent anarchic fairy tale entry Into the Woods, the popular HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones, as well as the unsettling work of the late auteur Ken Russell (The Devils, Tommy).
Garrone, no stranger to Cannes, won the Grand Prix for his 2008 crime drama Gomorrah, a film that offered a behind-the-scenes sense of realism to a contemporary mob family. His follow-up Reality, a comedy-drama about an ordinary man who finds unexpected fame after appearing on a reality show, won the same prize at the 2012 festival.
Tale of Tales marks the third IFC-backed film at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. The distributor also claimed U.S. distribution rights to A Perfect Day, a new feature starring Oscar winners Benicio Del Toro (Traffic) and Tim Robbins (Mystic River) that premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar at Cannes. Perhaps an even bigger coup for the distributor was the Palme d’Or winner Dheepan, the new film from French filmmaker Jacques Audiard. There’s no word yet on when IFC plans to bring any of these films to U.S. theaters.