The movie never gains much narrative momentum and the religious elements remain a bit obscure to the uninitiated, but the fine Sufi music and skillfully crafted images make for pleasant-enough viewing.
There's nothing wrong with being difficult if there's a payoff at the end. Screenwriter-director Nacer Khemir provides that with a visually stunning final scene that makes sense of everything that came before.
Although beautifully filmed, Bab'Aziz's form mirrors the actions of its characters, wandering the desert and dancing among the tales, returning to the present-day story for Ishtar, with her wise, old face, to say, 'What happened next?'.
Bab'Aziz was shot mostly in parched Iranian landscapes; the film's brilliant cinematographer, Mahmoud Kalari, frames the dunes, rock formations and sandblasted village and cities with a poet's eye, turning real spaces into dreamscapes.