An interesting modern riff on the Arabian Nights tales (structurally) applied to the recent socio-economic turbulence (to put it mildly) in Portugal. This is less successful in the final third, but proves to be excellent entertainment for the majority of the runtime.
Nem sei bem que dizer. O choque entre dois registos - a dureza e veracidade dos testemunhos documentais misturadas com a tolice dos segmentos satíricos da troika, da criança incendiária, do bizarro galo - resultam num filme difícil de caracterizar, que ora se estranha ora se entranha e cujas histórias mais não têm em comum que a intenção de retratar uma certa "portugalidade" (que é isso?): ora de ontem, ora de hoje.
2.8 I love Miguel Gomes' work, but this was so pretentious. Seemed like he had in mind the critics above all. It's a shame, because there's so, so much creativity here. The little stories don't add up in a meaningful way... This film is too self aware of its duty as a purportedly art film to convey an intelligent message.
I found the stories themselves more engaging than the postmodern frame, and the stories themselves were most interesting (and moving) when at their simplest, e.g. the straightforward interview sections towards the end. All this suggests to me that Gomes doesn't need to try so hard to be so "clever" with his material and instead let it speak more for itself.
4.5. Like a meditative, post-modern Fellini. Gomes is a coherent conscience adrift in the incoherence of late capitalism's economic absurdism; of austerity & collapse. Initially close to overwhelming (esp. subtitled) as the viewer is all but plunged in to Gomes' subjectivity. But by the end it seems the only way he could've conducted this particular tour. Astonishing filmmaking. I'm hanging on for the next story...
(Generous) 3 - I would forgive this film its affectations, as I would its narrative pomposity; its laziness and even its ungodly Paulo Coelho-via-self-help-flotsam pseudo magical-realist fucking pretentiousness, if it wasn't so mind-pulverizingly boring. I went into this wanting to like it, and I like the concept behind it; it deserves to be tackled by a director more full of ideas and less so of himself.