Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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Gomes relies too much now on a lot of text written on the screen, to the point that he ends up preventing us from developing a deeper connection with the characters, but despite that this is a great film that shows us the beauty and poetry of the everyday life of those common people.
In the final act of "Arabian Nights," Gomes is to his audience as Scheherazade is to the Auspicious King - telling us the story, rather than displaying it. Unfortunately for us, the story that "The Enchanted One" is most comprised of is that of "The Inebriating Chorus of the Chaffinches," the most underwhelming and sluggish story told throughout "Arabian Nights" as it feels much longer than the film's excessive run-time. Most disappointingly, the film's conclusion is more interested in a lengthy shot of a bird-trapper walking down a gravel road than the fate of the endangered protagonist.
As for the entirety of "Arabian Nights":
In the Modernity of Time, there lives on the archipelago an ambitious director who crafted an intelligent, long-winded, audacious film which expresses both love and disdain for his homeland of Portugal through a series of fantastical and absurd stories rooted in a narrative structure drawn from "One Thousand and One Nights." Even the most adventurous of film-goers would proclaim his six-hour saga as "incomprehensible nonsense" and others a "higher form of art." Me, I believe that it is both. If Gomes portrayed his world as is, perhaps it would be even more incomprehensible and also less entertaining. As an entire collection, my arbitrary numerical score for "Arabian Nights" is a 3.5/5 stars or a 7/10.
6.3/10, my review: http://wp.me/p1eXom-2rs
The final volume of the trilogy, The Enchanted One comes full circle to Scheherazade's own story, as Miguel Gomes brilliantly places an ancient Bagdad against modern day Lisbon.
Scheherazade's story is definately the highlight of this final volume, with Crista Alfaiate once again delivering a powerful and loving performance.
Despite this, I found the movie to struggle a little because of the structure adopted for this volume. Scheherazade's tale feels more like a closure for the movie but yet its placed at the beginning of the movie with two more stories told by Scheherazade after her own.
And the chaffinch story felt too long and uninteresting, as it is mostly told by way of text and not even Scheherazade's voice.
The Hot Forest story also felt somewhat misplaced, interrupting the chaffinch story midway and not adding much other than the climate of social unrest also affecting Law and Order officials. It would have been much better to dedicate an entire short story to the several protests instead of focusing briefly on the police and national guard's one. In fact the protest by the people in the chaffinch story would have been much better as a separate story in tandem with the police protest.
The soundtrack is once again exquisite tying in closely with the ending scene to a satisfying conclusion.