Arabian Nights Miguel Gomes

I agree with our Cannes review when it says, “While it could certainly have used trimming in parts, Arabian Nights is definitely worth the six-hour investment,” and yet I remain uncertain about the total impact of Miguel Gomes‘ massive project. Being divided into three films — The Desolate One, The Restless One and The Enchanted One — it’s only natural that certain titles and their individual sections (of which there are many) will be better than others. How, then, to reconcile the preference for film two over film, or both over film one? What about a preference for the first half of film three over all else, and perhaps seeing the second half of film three as inferior to everything else?

At some point or another, you can (and, yes, should) decide for yourself. Arabian Nights will begin its theatrical run in New York at the start of next month, and Kino have thus released a trailer. Considering the task at hand, it does a fine job encapsulating the films and their differing experiences — so much so that it has me, a slight skeptic, hoping to settle in with it at some point again. Gomes has made something that, taken within close proximity, isn’t quite like anything else out there.

Watch the trailer below:

Arabian Nights Poster


In Portugal- one European country in crisis- a film director proposes to build fictional stories from the miserable reality he is immersed in. However, failing to find meaning in his work, he cowardly runs away and leaves the beautiful Scheherazade to stand in his shoes. She will require enthusiasm and courage so as not to bore the King with sad stories of this country. As nights go past, restlessness leads to desolation and in turn to enchantment. Therefore Scheherazade organizes the stories she tells the King in three volumes. She begins like this: “It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that in a sad country among all countries…”

Arabian Nights will begin playing at Lincoln Center on December 4; part two will begin on December 11, and part three commences its run on December 18.

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