Sunday, May 10, 2020

Filippo Timi and Sebastiano Mauri's FAIRYTALE hits digital and DVD here in the USA

If you tend to be a sucker for very strange cinema (as am I), you probably won't find an odder example than FAIRYTALE (Favola), the Italian movie from 2017 based on the popular stage play by actor and sometimes writer Filippo Timi, one of my favorite performers, whom we get to see far too seldom here in the USA. TrustMovies interviewed Signore Timi back in 2010, when he played the role of Mussolini in Marco Bellocchio's Vincere. Versatile in the extreme, he sometimes proves nearly unrecognizable from movie to movie.

In the case of Fairytale, Timi (above, left) has co-written the screenplay (with the film's director, Sebastiano Mauri, above, right) as well as essaying the leading role of Mrs. Fairytale, an American housewife in the 1950s who is, pretty much unbeknownst (initially, even to herself), going through a process of heavy-duty self-discovery. On one level, this involves everything from mere temptation to adultery and murder, on yet another, it embraces cross-dressing, transgender, homosexuality, heterosexuality, pansexuality, depression and (societal-induced) mental illness.

As the film opens, our heroine (above) is flitting around her very 1950s home (as envisioned by Italians of the 21st Century), and all by themselves, the costumes, set and production design are reason enough to sit through this gloriously cockeyed movie. So is the tiny taxidermy-mounted poodle, Lady, who begins this bizarre concoction (in animated form) and then stays with us throughout, as some weird kind of security blanket for our thoroughly addled homemaker.

In addition to the eye-popping decor, we also get a dose of just about all your could ask from a film about America in the 50s: Doris Day, UFOs, straying husbands, unfaithful wives, the mambo and Douglas Sirk/Ross Hunter-inspired melodrama. As an encyclopedia of movie knowledge and references, we get quite a lot from Fairytale, too, including Mildred Pierce (below) and All About Eve (further below).

Timi is pretty much the whole show and he is, as always, exraordinary, but very good support is provided by Lucia Mascino (above and at bottom) as the next-door neighbor and friend who becomes quite a bit more over time,

and by Luca Santagostino (below, playing triplet brothers in this neighborhood with flair and versatility). And although daddy issues don't seem to raise their head in the course of the film,

mommy issues certainly do, via the funny, incisive performance of Piera Degli Esposti (below), in the role of Fairytale's rather commanding mother. As lunatic as the movie is, start to finish, it's also clearly trying to persuade audiences to think longer, harder and more pointedly about gender, the roles we assign to this, and the somewhat "iffy" results we continue to get.

While the USA, France and other western countries have all made their own mark on the subject, Fairytale seems to me the very peculiar Italian version of it all.

The fact the Signore Timi, whom I have found to be -- both on screen and in person -- among the "straightest," most "male" and powerful of actors and personalities has been, according to the IMDB, married to the film's director, Signore Mauri, for the past four years would seem to indicate that he has found his own gender-bending way to deal with all this. More power to him!

From Breaking Glass Pictures and running just 90 minutes, Fairytale makes its DVD and VOD debut this coming Tuesday, May 12 -- for purchase and/or rental. It's over-the-top and then some, but if you're looking for an escape from the world of our current and ever-present Covid-19 menace, this movie may very well get you the hell out of here. (It's even got an American flag for the "patriots" among us.)

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