Easily the most straight-forward episode in the Arabian Nights series, more approachable but struggling to go beyond the anthology formula without the over-arching narrative. Nevertheless, I must persist that the "Tears of a Judge" segment is the most refreshing court scene we've had since the days of classic Hollywood, understanding its theatricality while also pushing it into joyful and surrealist extremes.
Volume 2 moves, as its title suggests, into darker, Zola-esque territory, a Portugal riddled with crime, inequality, collective guilt and imperious 'rules' that nobody seems inclined to obey. The magical realist touches are more muted, though the sensuality and sexuality from the 1001 tales is retained in short interludes. Filmed as a time of political crisis, Gomes's trilogy is an often sad look at a bruised nation.
The best installment of Gomes trilogy, featuring by far its most effective story. This sequence, featuring an open air trial, a judge dressed in red and a myriad of memorable characters (the cow) trapped in a "rosary of tragedies", is unforgettble. Examines Portugal's austerity measures with clarity, insight and humour, combining magical realism with nuanced political criticism and social realism. Intensely powerful.
A more playful second chapter. Still sad and mournful but with more cinematic stories. The dog story at the end is especially heartbreaking while the mid story is the most arabian nights of them all as a court is filled with criminals that all have good reasons ending up as one.
Dans ce second volet, Miguel Gomes a opté pour de forts contrastes. L'histoire de la juge dépassée par l'absurdité des causes et des effets, est un tour de force de théâtre tragi-comique "à l'ancienne". Les deux autres histoires, plus réalistes dans leurs propos et mises en scène, ont une tonalité effectivement plus "désolée" (sans tomber dans la sinistrose) et une réelle empathie pour les pauvres et les marginaux.
The court episodes and the final one on the condominium are beautiful. The tone is always fairy tale, but the episodes tell the despondency and harshness of reality, with a melancholy that is never desperation and a solidity and completeness of the narration that are not always found in the other parts. Definitely the most convincing part.
Despite the shifts in tone are not facilitating the viewer's immersions into these "visions", it seemed to me the most grounded and inspired of the three. It directly faces the issues prompted in the premise of the trilogy. However, (here but especially in the third chapter) it might be hard to pass over the subordination of cinema to the spoken and the written word.
2.5 Desolate and plodding. Loved Vol.1 with its fast pace and black comedy. Vol. 2 is sluggishly edited, and far too long. The trial scene would be better as a stage production, as Gomes seems to give up on setting the needed pace for the material to work on screen. While Dixie is a good way of introducing the tower block residents, the pacing is needlessly and excruciatingly slow.
The first tale, about the old runaway criminal (as inconsequential as it was), as well as a few moments in the third part (such as the hip hop sequence), were examples of how interesting this could have been. In fact, inconsequential is the adjective that best describes it. What was the point?
The second in the trilogy by director Miguel Gomes, this is the best one (for me). None of the stories feel too weak, although the first one suffers in comparison to the others, and the structure is even more intricate and at times akin to a wonderful puzzle box.
A primeira parte arrasta-se em torno do protagonista que não desperta grande interesse, não obstante o pitoresco cenário; uma segunda parte dedicada a um julgamento que começa divertido mas que rapidamente se desgasta perdido em historietas bizarras apenas para chegar à conclusão pouco subtil que é tudo um ciclo vicioso de crime e pobreza; a terceira e última parte é a mais forte, generosa e a menos pretensiosa.