Italy, Switzerland


Once upon a time there was a dark fairytale set in the province of Rome. A small family community. An alienating atmosphere. The characters seem apparently normal, but it is an illusion: in the houses, classes and courtyards, silence covers the subtle sadism of the fathers, the passivity of the mothers, and the guilty indifference of adults. Overall, it is the desperation of the children that explodes in repressed rage and flows quickly through the loss of everyone.

Director's Statement

We cannot find words succinct and effective enough to describe the theme we want to tackle in our second, very ambitious project. This is also why we chose the audiovisual medium of film to tell the story, rather than relying on writing alone. Writing is too precise. Unequivocal. It wasn’t enough for this story. There is a lot of silence in our film. And when the characters do speak, paradoxically, they may communicate less. Uneasiness, solitude and apprehension find their primary locus within the families in this story. The home – what used to be a nest, although a tenderly limiting one – is now the nexus of intolerance, coldness and anxiety. It is enough to consider the number of domestic murders to realise that this is true. We want to investigate, in the most original way possible, the communication breakdown in these families, immersed in the stagnant flow of sterile routines, where perhaps only tragedies have the capacity to shake things up. Normal families that speak to everyone, without the excuse of being ‘marginal’ or being at the reassuring distance of the ‘bourgeoisie’. A "Spoon River" for the new millennium, that speaks to both American suburbia and the European welfare state. We believe that the script really communicates a sense of palpable suffering. It doesn’t just recount suffering, it embodies it. In one powerful, ancestral form: the fable, metaphor par excellence. A dark fairy tale that relates the worst aspects of a form of capitalism that does not belong to us by culture or tradition but which, as (provincial) citizens of the world, we somehow feel we deserve. A story with complex content which we combine with a striking, scornful, iconic mise en scène, far from the realism of BOYS CRY, transfiguring the present-day into timeless cinematic language. This story could have emerged from the pages of Updike, Vonnegut, Yates, Ibsen – or obviously, from the collected works of the Brothers Grimm, archetypes of this film, beginning with the title. A world of sensations, colours and odors; yet in the distance, everything is burning. As in every self-respecting fairytale, there is a narrator to spell out events. A mocking narrator who likes to shuffle the cards, to toss ambiguity into the most normal gesture and to normalize the inhuman. Every film is a dream, after all. BAD TALES is about a broken dream: The shattered dream of a generation of young men and women who imagined their future with a sense of hope that has proven to be in vain. And their children, who don’t want to go anywhere near their own future. Faithfully yours, The D’Innocenzo Brothers

Director's Biography

Born in 1988, the D'Innocenzo brothers were born in Rome, in Tor Bella Monaca, and then followed their father who brought them to live between Lavinio, Neptune and Anzio. As young lovers of photography, today they boast a place as enfant prodige of Italian cinema. The two young filmmakers reached their goals as self-taught, without specific study. Their debut film, BOYS CRY, was presented at the Berlinale 2018 in the Panorama section and received several awards. The great success of BOYS CRY gave the brothers the opportunity to establish themselves internationally and participate in the prestigious workshop of the Sundance Film Festival, reserved for the best newcomers in the world, under the guidance of the multiple Oscar nominee Paul Thomas Anderson. In 2019 they published their first collection of poems "Mia madre è un’arma” (My mother is a weapon), by the publishing house La Nave di Teseo. Today Fabio and Damiano have finished their second work with Pepito Produzioni and they are close to publish their picture book "Night Pharmacy" in 2020, edited by Contrasto.


Cast & Crew

Directed by: Damiano D'Innocenzo, Fabio D'Innocenzo

Written by: Damiano D'Innocenzo, Fabio D'Innocenzo

Produced by: Giuseppe Saccà, Paolo Del Brocco, Nicola Maccanico, Michela Pini

Cinematography: Paolo Carnera

Editing: Esmeralda Calabria

Production Design: Emita Frigato, Paola Peraro, Paolo Bonfini

Costume Design: Massimo Cantini Parrini

Make-Up & Hair: Diego Prestopino, Daniele Fiori

Sound: March Thill

Casting: Davide Zurolo

Cast: Elio Germano (Bruno Placido), Barbara Chichiarelli (Dalila Placido), Gabriel Montesi (Amelio Guerrini), Ileana D'ambra (Vilma Tommasi), Tommaso Di Cola (Dennis Placido), Giulietta Rebeggiani (Alessia Placido), Justin Korovkin (Geremia Guerrini), Giulia Melillo (Viola Rosa), Lino Musella (Professor Bernardini)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Screenwriter 2020
  • Feature Film Selection 2020