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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 11.24.15] Portugal drama

One of the much buzzed about titles coming out of Cannes this year was Miguel Gomes' three part Arabian Nights which has nothing to do with the classic tale beyond borrowing from its structure.

The movies were heralded as some sort of second coming and to be sure, they're an interesting trilogy which broaches the subject of the economic collapse in Europe, the bailouts, concessions and how one little country dealt with (and continues to deal with) the fallout. In short Arabian Nights is a spectacular microcosm of the effects of economic sanctions. At least that's what it starts off as in The Restless One. The Desolate One meanders into a collection of stories which feel undercooked in comparison to the first entry – so much so that I don't actually remember what happens in any of the vignettes in part 2. Thankfully, The Enchanted One gets things back on course complete with a fascinating exploration of goldfinch competitions which speaks both to Portuguese culture and the social effects of the economic situation.

Just in time for the movie's upcoming release, a new trailer, comprised of clips from all three movies, has appeared, providing both a great preview of the movies without really saying much about any of them mostly because these aren't the kinds of movies you can tease. The trailer does, however, touch of the sense of humor which permeates through all three movies.

Arabian Nights opens December 4 in New York. Even with a mediocre second entry, I recommend seeing it if you have the opportunity.

Recommended Release: Tabu

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