Day 258: Arabian Nights: Volume 1 - The Restless One (November, 22)

And how can we win
When Fools can be kings?

This question summarizes the actual state of the world. The past too, I must say. This perverse endless gear that disregards life, humanity, justice, compassion.

I was expecting a very different movie when I got into the movie theater on this day. The title Arabian Nights: Volume 1 - The Restless One (As Mil e Uma Noites: Volume 1 - O Inquieto) evokes poetry and dreamy tales. And that's what Miguel Gomes would like to do, he says at first. Timeless poetic stories in movies. But his country is on shambles, a financial crisis that undermines its people way of living. 

From the closing of a shipyard in Viana do Castelo to a wasp plague at the same region, Gomes shows his despair. I've been at Viana do Castelo some years ago, and the shipyard was a very strong presence. I was a bit lost, walking around it by night, before I found out the small enchanting village and its charming inhabitants. There was a religious procession, and it was so alive, contrasting with the dormant shipyard. The next day, the village was still partying, and I spent all morning wandering its old and beautiful streets, breathing the unusual atmosphere around me. I'm sure that it was what Miguel Gomes would like to tell about on his movie, but how to turn his back to the crisis around him? To people loosing their jobs? To a cinema that has no money to even be? To an art that cannot ignore what is actually happening?

Apparently, as the Portuguese people, Gomes is absolutely resilient. And taking hold of other tales of despair - the struggle of Sherazade to end the ongoing horror on her village caused by a despot power - he is immensely and fiercely poetic. Strong, Ironic, uncomfortable and, of course, as always, hopeful. It is not an easy movie, and it shouldn't be, because we're not living easy times (is there such a thing by the way?). IT is absolutely brilliant, though. Human lives has been treated as a commodity since... well, always. Stories have the same age of such absurd, though. They tell us that we are absolutely not alone on this. Never. 

Arabian Nights: Volume 1 - The Restless One (As Mil e uma Noites: Volume 1-
O Inquieto).
Directed by Miguel Gomes. With: Miguel Gomes, Carloto Cotta,
Adriano Luz. Writers: Miguel Gomes, Telmo Churro, Mariana Ricardo.
Portugal/France/Germany/Switzerland, 2015, Color (Cinema). 

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