Developing the allegorical structure of Volume 1, Volume 2 offers a more thoughtful approach. Gone are the exploding whales of the opening chapter, though it’s safe to say a streak of animal-based absurdity still runs strong.
Gomes continues to link economic austerity and sexual appetite to provocative effect, while also producing a farcical ‘courtroom’ sequence that’s genuinely hilarious.
Each tale is directed with mastery, whether it’s bizarre or deadly serious in tone, but the project’s ambition proves Gomes’ undoing at times. The narrative purpose and dramatic effect can sometimes become a little muddled among such disparate stories.
With its almost sketch-like structure, Arabian Nights continues to be hit-and-miss. There’s far more of the former than the latter though, with every tale offering entertainment or insight.
CAST: Crista Alfaiate, Chico Chapas, Luísa Cruz, Pedro Caldas, Gonçalo Waddington
DIRECTOR: Miguel Gomes
WRITERS: Miguel Gomes, Telmo Churro, Mariana Ricardo
SYNOPSIS: Taking inspiration from the Arabian Nights, director Miguel Gomes depicts the financial austerity and social ruin of modern Portugal.