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Seriously, I have never heard of such a word before. Have you? If you're like me who live in Southeast Asia and only know English as a second language then maybe you'd say the same thing. In case you already know what I'm talking about then that's good. If not then let me tell you all about Fantaghirò. Or better yet, let me show you what I mean.
Sadly I can't find any English subbed trailer so maybe let's make do with the auto translated captions of this YouTube video...
Ok I admit seeing this might not pique your interest too much if you don't understand Italian like me.
Let me make it easier for you. Fantaghirò (a.k.a. The Cave of the Golden Rose) is an Italian fantasy TV movie series in the '90s. On Wikipedia it says the word is from an Italian folk tale called Fanta-Ghiro the Beautiful. (Of course I will try and look for that story online too!) It's a name for females even if it ends in 0.
I have never heard of it until I found @fantagira here in read.cash. Her article on how she got her username led me to watch this show.
Upon learning about it, I decided to check it out. I typed the word in YouTube's search bar and voila! Full movie episodes! Amazing. Haha. So after watching the first two part movie, let me share my summary and review so you'll know what I think of it.
Thanks to YouTube, I was able to watch this easily. I sat back and relaxed to watch this without even checking on any trailer. Like I said there isn't any good English trailers so I just went and watched the 1st movie.
However even if the video I watched is in Italian, the actors' mouth didn't look like they were speaking Italian for some reason. Hey I know nothing of this show so I just found it weird. The English subtitle is good enough so at least I enjoyed watching.
It starts off with war in a kingdom, seemingly in the Middle Ages. And then we see the King and find out his wife was giving birth. To his dismay, the child turned out to be a girl. Upon seeing the little girl and her attitude I was immediately reminded of the Argentinian TV show called Monica Brava.
(Oh yeah. That's one of the most European show I know. Lol. Ooops let me correct myself, it turns out Argentina is in South America. Hey but they speak Spanish so... 😅)
Anyway thanks to the telenovela craze in the Philippines in the '90s, we are familiar with some strong foreign women characters on TV. So when I saw the determined little girl that's the first thing I thought of. To summarize what I think of the first part, it's a Monica Brava set in the Middle Ages with magic involved. 😄
If not familiar with the Argentinian show then let me elaborate.
The narrative isn't that unique if you look into it but the twist is in what the protagonist can do. There's a beautiful strong-willed princess who can talk to plants, animals and even rocks! Wth??? 😂
Who knew this show would be kinda funny but hey wait it's what makes the show magical. There's also someone who's like a fairy godmother to her. And then we find out later on that there's a handsome prince for her too! Oh la la. He looks really good you know. 🔥🔥🔥 Eherm...
As for the costumes and set design, I like how it seemed believable enough that they're all living in medieval times. The puppets added to the kid-friendly vibes of the movie. The only thing that needs improvement is the use of CGI/special effects. Of course this was done in the '90s so it's understandable. It looked familiar though because even our local shows had the same special effects quality. Haha. Totally fine if it looked sort of fake or out of place as compared to today's CGI.
In terms of the acting/performance, I'm not sure if the show was meant to be partly comedic but sometimes it felt quite like it. It's not a comedy though. Can't say they were bad at their roles but it's passable. Unfortunately only Fantaghiro's character seems to be the most developed one.
Continuing on with the story... When Fantaghiro grew up, she was taught how to fight like a warrior by the White Knight. At the same time, the war of two kingdoms was finally about to end after the death of the enemy king. Romualdo then became the new ruler and offered to have a duel with the strongest knight in Fantaghiro's kingdom. This would decide who wins the war.
Before the duel invitation could be sent, the White Witch had her own plans. She caused the princess and the new king to meet fleetingly. (Guess what happened? 😆) Eventually, due to a prophecy, Fantaghiro was allowed to go to the duel dressed as a man (duke).
Surprise surprise, the second part is in English! No wonder I was wondering why the Italian words didn't match the way their mouths moved. Summady tell me why it's in English when everywhere I look it says the show's language is Italian. 😂
Well after I finished watching it, all I can say is it's a love story after all. 😅 Ah what did I expect when there's a pretty princess involved. Even if she is brave and strong there will always be a handsome prince/king that eventually comes along. Perfectly normal in fairy tales.
With regards to the story, it is best for young, adventure-loving romantics. The story is more of an elaborate courtship really. (They better thank the White Witch for peace in their kingdom. 😂)
I can't say I'm disappointed because it turned out to be a romantic tale. I mean it started out better than it ended.
To continue the summary: King Romualdo recognized the princess-in-disguise thus tried various ways to make sure that he (duke) was a she. Fantaghiro initiated the duel out of exasperation. She won fair and square but was not able to kill the young king.
In the end, the enemy kingdom surrendered to her father. To unite both territories, it was declared that the princesses would marry the princes of the other kingdom. Fantaghiro of course would marry King Romualdo. The End.
No I won't say they lived happily ever after. After this 2 part show, there are other sequels. I checked the first few minutes of Fantaghiro 2 Part 1 but nah. It's time for me to stop watching.
I like fantasy and sci-fi stories that's why I watched this. The best part of it all are the magical things that happened, lots of outdoor nature scenes and as mentioned, the costume, props, set design etc. It also kinda has an underlying message that we should take care of plants and animals. Awwww. A movie perfect for nature lovers.
The soundtrack didn't stand out to me that much so let's skip that. The acting made it seem like I was watching a TV stage play or something. "Oh Romeo, Oh Juliet!" 🙄
There wasn't much conflict going on where everyone triumphed in the end. It's clearly a fairy tale for kids / teens. It's lighthearted so if you just want to have a good time and relax then you can watch this.
Unfortunately it's what made me disappointed after watching everything. I wasn't expecting anything when I started watching but I will definitely pass on the sequels. At least now I know how it all began.