Mr. Gomes has a tendency to revel in his own cleverness and to indulge in self-conscious cinematic jokes. He also has a penchant for obscurantism, a habit of confusing ambiguity with depth.
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The individual tales meanings are obscured by wavering tone and formal gymnastics.
However you enjoy its nearly four hundred minutes, I expect you'll be held rapt till the last second by a film of abundant wit and generous heart.
Miguel Gomes's formal talents, which include a flair for close-ups of elegantly smooth or weathered faces, transcend his soft spot for the didactic.
Fighting misery means having fun, which is what filmmaking is supposed to be, and, despite its lengths and scope, Arabian Nights always feels handmade.
One of the princes of arthouse cinema, Miguel Gomes here uses his status to push form and stretch boundaries. Very long but very much worth it.
Labelling his film as a response to the impoverishment of ordinary people caused by the government-imposed austerity of 2013-14, Gomes explains his dilemma brilliantly at the start of Volume 1. How is a well-meaning filmmaker to effectively render the pain of the Portuguese with a documentary set in a town where the shipyard has closed just as alien wasps are attacking local beehives?
It’s as successful as it is ambitious.
With a blend of local lore and partisan fury, theatrical artifice and journalistic inquiry, Gomes single-handedly reinvents the political cinema.
Part one of "Arabian Nights" has many wild components and even though they adhere to their own set of aesthetic principals, they make for a strange two-hour movie (which is why it’s best to watch it with parts two and three).