John Turturro Reads Italo Calvino’s Fairy Tale, “The False Grandmother,” in a Short Animated Film

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.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon. If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ita­lo Calvi­no Offers 14 Rea­sons We Should Read the Clas­sics

Hear Ita­lo Calvi­no Read Selec­tions From Invis­i­ble Cities, Mr. Palo­mar & Oth­er Enchant­i­ng Fic­tions

Watch a Whim­si­cal Ani­ma­tion of Ita­lo Calvino’s Short Sto­ry “The Dis­tance of the Moon

Invis­i­ble Cities Illus­trat­ed: Three Artists Paint Every City in Ita­lo Calvino’s Clas­sic Nov­el

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