Reviews

“The Wholly Family” (2011) IMDb

Creators

Terry Gilliam (director).

Extent

Seen in 2019.

Categorization

Fairy tale.

Subject

A half-Italian, half-US ten-year-old on vacation in Naples wants a Pulcinella and learns something about his bickering parents.

Commentary

Gilliam tries to return to Time Bandits (1981), but the comedy falls flat and the pro-human, anti-commercial edge is gone. This short film is itself, in part, a commercial for its sponsor, a pasta company, just like “The Legend of Hallowdega” (2010) was a commercial for some bullshit “energy” drink. This explains the unironic national stereotypification of the multiple Pulcinellas as spaghetti-eating buffoons.

There is never a point in this film where the fairy tale seems real to anyone. Gilliam has lost his grip, getting each detail slightly wrong. Even the disposal of a version of the main character in a flaming barrel fails to evoke the Grimms’ cruel Christianity.

fiction moving picture