"Its beauty is mysteriously perfect, almost excessive & thrilling." He says this somewhere near the end, about Sana'a, but it's how I feel from the 1st shot, about the film. Unf. The man sure could convey passion. Basically, Pasolini makes an earnest, cluelessly paternalistic case for privileging his Enlightened Outsider perspective in questions of Yemen's national interest. And it's still a 3, so... Yeah. Gorgeous!
A reverse city symphony, this heartfelt and poetic "appeal" is so problematic that it strangely echoes another (easily ugly) appeal by a US congressman to send Vietnam back to the medieval ages. Pasolini (wonderstruck like Calvino's Marco Polo 2 years later) wants Sanaa uncontaminated by modernism; poor yet happy as in Arabia Felix. And now what has come of Sanaa’s Old City, a beleaguered UNESCO World Heritage Site?