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Miguel Gomes. ‘Arabian Nights’

— Spanish premiere of trilogy by Portuguese filmmaker

27 — 29 May 2016

Miguel Gomes. ‘Arabian Nights’
Miguel Gomes, Arabian Nights, Vol.III - The Enchanted One (2015), 125 min. Courtesy Golem Distribución

The Filmoteca de Catalunya presents the Spanish premiere of "Arabian Nights", the international co-produced trilogy by Portuguese artist Miguel Gomes.

Arabian Nights is an international co-produced trilogy based on the One Thousand and One Nights. It was firstly screened as part of the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, and also selected to be shown in the Wavelengths section of the 2015 Toronto Film Festival.

Arabian Nights: Volume 1 – The Restless One

Gomes’ opening volume unfolds three unexpected tales about Portuguese life, labor and economic free fall that creatively blend fact and fantasy into vivid fables lurching between hilarious and tragic. A strange magic unites the stories, giving a dream logic and clarity to even their most improbable incidents: a talking rooster on trial for crowing too early in the morning, a mermaid released from an exploding whale, a group of impotent economists seeking a cure. Most touching in The Restless One are Gomes’ documentary encounters with unemployed Portuguese whose sober voices bring a heartrending humanity to his epic project.

Arabian Nights: Volume 2 – The Desolate One 

A dark whimsy weaves through the second and most spirited volume of Gomes’ trilogy, which opens with a rollicking and morally disorienting adventure: the escape of a serial killer who gradually becomes a folk hero by eluding the police. The subsequent stories tell of an absurd and seemingly unending trial over crimes that fantastically multiply and the ragged misadventures of a Maltese poodle whose lonely search for new owners in a bedraggled apartment complex gently recalls Umberto D’s neorealist canine.

Arabian Nights: Volume 3 – The Enchanted One

Gomes closes his trilogy with a fascinating blend of delirious fantasy and melancholy poetic realism that travels from ancient Babylon to present-day Lisbon. The Enchanted One refers to Scheherazade, who opens the film by recounting the feverishly romantic tale of the many strangely talented suitors who vie for her affection. The majority of the film patiently follows a team of amateur bird trappers enamored with their prey to which they teach new songs for a long-awaited competition. Like the fragile birds kept in cages, the lonely workers are capable of endearing magic but remain helplessly cut off from the rest of the world, emblems then of Gomes’ country’s vast potential and precarious state.


Arabian Nights: Volume 1 – The Restless One, 125 min
Friday 27 May, 7 pm
Arabian Nights: Volume 2 - The Desolate One, 131 min
Saturday 28 May, 7 pm
Arabian Nights: Volume 3 – The Enchanted One, 125 min
Sunday 29 May, 7.30 pm
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