Fnc 2015: ‘Arabian Nights — Volume 3: The Enchanted One’ is a loose, humanistic conclusion

Arabian Nights — Volume 3, The Enchanted One

Written by Miguel Gomes, Mariana Ricardo, and Telmo Churro

Directed by Miguel Gomes

Portugal, 2015

In spite of its seemingly monumental ambitions, Miguel Gomes’s Arabian Nights has never been in danger of being weighed down by pretensions. From the opening minutes of Volume One, Gomes has maintained an effervescent tone, albeit one tamed somewhat in the darker Volume Two. Even there, Arabian Nights keeps its focus on its main subject: the Portuguese people, and the ways in which they’ve felt the impact of austerity. As such, Gomes’s film always true to itself and never seems to stray from the director’s vision.

With all that in mind, even if the segment which comprises the bulk of Volume Three, titled “The Inebriated Chorus of the Chaffinches,” would seem meandering and aimless in a different film, the documentary-like footage feels perfectly suited to Gomes’s aims.
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