The Weaver of Tales: Garrone and Tale of Tales (from Screenplay to Film)

Thea Rimini


This essay compares the movie Tale of Tales by Matteo Garrone with the collection of seventeenth-century fairy tales Lo cunto de li cunti by Giambattista Basile on which it is based. After highlighting the specularity of Garrone and Basile’s poetics (attention to deformed bodies, coexistence of attractive and repelling, etc.), the analysis focuses on adaptation strategies (restoring of the frame tale, importance of female figures, linguistic choices). It is also stressed the role of light into the movie, which is crossed by violent light contrasts in Caravaggio’s style, representing the struggle between good and evil. The unpublished screenplay of the film in its Italian and English versions is analysed in detail in terms of narrative architecture, characters and linguistic aspects. The analysis exhibits the complexity of the work done by Garrone, who successfully captured the multiple levels of significant of Basile’s collection, remodelling them according to his own and unique poetics.


Garrone; Basile; Adaptation; Screenplay; Textual analysis

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