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FESTIVALS Portugal

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Arabian Nights to open Vila do Conde

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- Miguel Gomes returns to the festival that has presented his myriad short films over the years

Arabian Nights to open Vila do Conde
Arabian Nights by Miguel Gomes

One of the most highly acclaimed films at the most recent Cannes Film Festival, Arabian Nights by Portuguese director Miguel Gomes, will have the honour of opening the 23rd Vila do Conde Short Film Festival on 4 July, two months ahead of its commercial distribution in the country, which is scheduled for September.

Split into three parts, The Restless One [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Miguel Gomes
film profile
]
, The Desolate One [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Miguel Gomes
film profile
]
and The Enchanted One [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Miguel Gomes
film profile
]
, Arabian Nights is the fourth feature by Gomes, whose career so far has also included various shorts, some of which were awarded at the Vila do Conde gathering. These include the director’s first short film, Entretanto, which went home with the Best Director and Best Cinematography Awards in 1999. In 2002, 31 received an Honourable Mention, and in 2006, Cânticos das Criaturas won the national competition.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

O Inventário de Natal, Kalkitos and Pre-Evolution Soccer’s One Minute Dance After a Golden Goal in the Master League also screened at Vila do Conde.

Arabian Nights, an epic movie lasting over six hours, and split into three instalments that can be watched independently of each other, has been the most ambitious project in Portuguese cinema in recent years, not just owing to its particular production characteristics (it saw Portuguese, French, German and Swiss outfits join forces), but also because of the sui generis dimension of its development: it was shot over one year, based on true stories that a group of journalists hired specifically for the job presented every week to the director and his screenwriters. A film crew, which included the DoP, Sayombhu Mukdeeprom (a regular collaborator with Apichatpong Weerasethakul), had to be available to shoot whenever necessary, in an almost constant process of narration founded on the social reality of a country wallowing in crisis. Nevertheless, this process also saw the addition of fantastic and surreal undercurrents to the movie and took the author’s creative freedom – which had already been obvious in his previous films – further than ever before.

Sold abroad by The Match Factory, Arabian Nights’ distribution is already assured in France: the three instalments will be released on 24 June, 29 July and 26 August, respectively.

(Translated from Spanish)

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