John Turturro Reads Italo Calvino’s Animated Fairy Tale

In 1956, Italo Calvino, one of Italy’s finest postwar writers, published Italian Folktales, a series of 200 fairy tales based sometimes loosely, sometimes more strictly on stories from a great folk tradition. When first published, The New York Times named Italian Folktales one of the ten best books of the year, and, more than a half century later, the stories continue to delight. Case in point: in 2007, John Turturro, the star of numerous Coen brothers and Spike Lee films, began working on Fiabe italiane, a play adapted from Calvino’s collection of fables. Last year, Turturro’s play enjoyed a sold-out run in Turino.

The animated video above features Turturro reading “The False Grandmother,” Calvino’s reworking of Little Red Riding Hood. Kevin Ruelle illustrated the clip, which was produced as part of Flypmedia’s more extensive coverage of Turturro’s adaptation.

Calvino, who died far too young, would have celebrated his 88th birthday this past Saturday.

Bonus: You can listen to Jeanette Winterson read Calvino’s short story, The Night, online here. The reading is also listed in our collection of Free Audio Books.



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  1. Barb Drummond says . . . | December 12, 2011 / 2:30 pm

    Why are Calvino’s folk tales so little known? They are brilliant, original, and intriguing. Turturro tells them brilliantly.

  2. Amara Graps says . . . | February 25, 2013 / 6:28 pm

    I think that location should be Turin (English) or Torino (Italian). Thanks for the heads-up. I love this collection of stories. It’s wonderful that people are advertising their sweetness.

  3. Elena says . . . | October 15, 2013 / 5:47 pm

    This brought me back to when I used to read Calvino’s books. Good times! Thank you!

  4. stephnie says . . . | October 16, 2013 / 5:06 am

    its wonderful!

  5. Alexandra Mc Millan says . . . | October 18, 2013 / 1:00 am

    Loved it! And this is a great website!nAlexandra

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