Miguel Gomes’ (Tabu, Our Beloved Month of August) astonishing three-volume, six-hour epic draws inspiration from the tales of Scheherazade (here played by Crista Alfaiate) and once again uses a fascinating combination of reality and fiction to comment on Portugal’s past, present and future. "There’s Bunuelian satire, lo-fi crime, Brechtian allegory, and high fantasy all in the mix. It’s dizzying stuff… a film that’s moving, sad, exciting, fiery, and funny." Indiewire
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Volume 2 – The Desolate One
The dramatic shifts in tone become even more pronounced with the second film’s slow-tempo opening chapter about an old man on the lam. In “The Tears of the Judge,” a public trial becomes a mockery, with the testimony implicating everyone in attendance. Finally, The Desolate One ends on an exhilarating note, with a supremely entertaining story about a dog named Dixie who’s passed between owners, familiarizing us with the inhabitants of a working-class apartment building.
Volume 3 – The Enchanted One
It’s here that the trilogy is both at its most playful and focused. Having escaped the palace of the king, Scheherazade explores a seaside landscape where she encounters, among others, a “wind genie” and a daft suitor. In this chapter, it’s as if the historical backdrop, the modern world and the disparate modes of storytelling collapse into one another. Movingly and unexpectedly, the last gesture of Arabian Nights is to scale back its scope and provide a disarmingly modest and poignant grace note on which one of contemporary cinema’s new masterpieces can close.