Sunday, December 2, 2012

Labyrinthine Tales

Arabian Nights (1974) - Pasolini
"Truth lies not in one dream but many". - Arabian Nights
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Arabian Nights starts with a story of a confident, beautiful slave girl choosing her next owner, a young man she deems the handsomest. It's a story within a story within a story within.... The film is filled with plenty of nudity, frank sexual scenes involving both sexes, decapitation and dismemberment. It's like watching more down to earth and raunchier Fellini. There is no Sinbad or Ali Baba or Genie, but other stories Pasolini chooses for the film are just as colorful and fascinating. Men are often foolish and women often exude wisdom. Beauty and youth are worshipped. World weary wisdom only comes after hardships. Lovers perish, lovers reunite. It jumps from many majestic African settings to that of Middle East and India and back and forth. Ennio Morricone's score and Dante Ferretti's production design help bring out these fantastic tales too. Over all, Arabian Nights plays out like a film totally unencumbered by Western influence (eventhough some Italian actors playing the parts are a little distracting). A fascinating, strangely moving film.