6 mins read

A Painter’s Tale: Curon, 1950, the review: an all-Italian journey

Among the (many) merits of Netflix is ​​that of having brought to light some episodes of post-war Italy that the economic boom had unfairly overshadowed. It was the case of the Isle of Roses and it is the case of the village of Curon, sacrificed both by the metonymy, which preferred Resia (which is a fraction of Curon), and above all by Montecatini, the historic building-chemical giant which was entrusted with the contract for the creation of an artificial basin, uniting the small natural lakes found in the South Tyrolean area. Who knows if the three boys from Bologna who make up the Monkeys Tales Studio were inspired by Ezio Abbate’s recent TV series or the documentary Il Paese Sommerso for their first work. Be that as it may, the review of A Painter’s Tale: Curon, 1950 talks about a title that can be classified in the “walking simulator” genre, where there is little else to do other than discover the delightful mountain village and the absurd adventure that Tommaso, a young painter catapulted into the days immediately preceding the planned destruction of the village.

Thomasa young man painter in an identity crisis, he is captivated by the beauty of the Ötztal Alps while portraying the famous submerged bell tower. He awakens in 1949, that is to say in the final stages of the old Curon, reliving firsthand the pain of the days preceding the flooding of the village. Here he meets Ida, a young war widow; of Father Alfred; of the hotelier Heinrich and his voluptuous daughter Ludovica who seems to have lost her head for the cheating engineer. Golini, head of the Montecatini project. The story is a successful mix between fiction and reality, where the former is only slightly sketched out to leave room for the effectiveness of the story of the life of those years, traveling to places and events that actually happened, such as the (vain) attempt at intercession by the parish priest at the Holy See or the difficult coexistence between Italians and Germans.

Along the lines of what happens in Valiant Hearts: The Great War, the work also has an intrinsic cultural value: as it progresses, the diary is populated with entries that tell interesting anecdotes of the time and of South Tyrolean culture. The common thread that links the three acts that make up A Painter’s Tale is precisely painting: the art that allows Tommaso to bring the historical memory of Curon back to life. As initially written, it is a real one walking simulator and as such the game structure is reduced to the bare bones: sometimes it seems that there are alternative paths to take depending on the answer, but in practice every choice is made to converge on the single ending foreseen by the developers. There are a couple of minigames elementary elements that would have deserved to be explored further to give more depth to the gaming experience, which ends in less than two hours.

Part story, part documentary

The Resia lake project, obtained by unifying three small natural lakes (the one of the same name, that of Curon and that of San Valentino alla Muta), is the result of the twenty-year period and was born towards the end of the thirties to facilitate the electricity supply of nearby Bolzano ; frozen by the Great War, whose bombings also affected those areas, it was only resumed at the end of the 1940s. Initially, the waters were expected to rise by only five metres: a limit that would have allowed the town to survive. Following the decision to increase the depth of the basin to twenty-two metres, the population was evacuated to narrow prefabricated buildings built a little further upstream and the inhabited centre, made up of 163 houses, razed to the ground, with the exception of only the bell tower, the top of which it was spared from the waters and today represents the most famous tourist attraction before the border with Austria.

For the technical implementation, the guys from Monkeys Tales relied on the Voxel technique, thanks to which they were able to reproduce the Alpine village in great detail, starting from the model present in the Curon museum. The choice to adopt the super-deformed style for the characters is jarring, as it makes them inexpressive even in particularly dramatic moments, where greater characterization would have allowed a higher level of pathos. A first-rate role is entrusted to the perfect soundtrack created by Marta Ascarihistorical collaborator of Monkeys Tales and freely accessible from this site.

PC System Requirements

Test Configuration

  • Operating system: Windows 10 Pro 64bit
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
  • Memory: 32GB RAM
  • Video card: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

Minimum requirements

  • Operating system: Windows 7 SP1+ or higher
  • Processor: 3Ghz Dual Core CPU
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Video card: 4GB video (shader model 4.0)
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Memory: 7 GB of available space

Recommended requirements

  • Operating system: Windows 7 SP1+ or higher
  • Processor: 3.5Ghz Dual Core CPU
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Video card: 6GB video board (shader model 4.0)
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Memory: 7 GB of available space

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