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Three Thousand Years Of Longing - George Miller


JohnC
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https://deadline.com/video/three-thousand-years-of-longing-trailer-idris-elba-tilda-swinton-george-miller-cannes/

 

Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba star in this fantasy romantic drama from George Miller. Swinton is Dr. Alithea Binnie, a scholar who picks up an interesting object in Istanbul. Elba is a djinn who comes from that object and grants her three wishes.

 

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This presents two problems. First, she doubts that he is real, and second, because she is a scholar of story and mythology, she knows all the cautionary tales of wishes gone wrong. The djinn pleads his case by telling her fantastical stories of his past. Eventually she is beguiled and makes a wish that surprises them both.

 

Certainly looks interesting

 

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I’ve just been reading the oral history of the making of Fury Road and it really hammers home what a brilliant director George Miller is. I’d watch anything the man puts his name to at this point. 
 

Also I never knew he directed the weird Babe sequel, Pig in the City, which was supposed to have been terrifying for kids. I watched it the other week and it really shows the importance of the director to an actor’s performance. The way he frames certain scenes with the camera imbues them with such poignance that it feels like the animals are giving performances on par with any Hollywood a-lister! The voice work is obviously doing a lot, but the context the visual provides just makes the whole thing sing.

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  • 3 months later...

I missed this thread, only heard about this film on a podcast where they said it's out like now. They were also saying George Miller was a doctor before a director and it made me think...what an extraordinary life and journey (actually there's a guardian article on people's use of 'journey' saying it should only be used if you're travelling across oceans uncovering new continents) he's had.

 

His wikipedia says he studied medicine and in his final year of medical school made a short film that won a student prize, so not quite quitting a profession that I expected.

 

Still his film trajectory is ..wild. I just want to write it down..debut Mad Max at 34 years old in the late 70s. Two more. Then the Babe and Happy Feet films in the 90s and 00s, childrens films that have working with animals and working in cgi animation, how does a director make that transition.

 

Then at 67 years old, another Mad Max, back to the action genre. Reading wiki...Fury Road as an idea came in 1987 and production was attempted in 1998 with years of production hell that moved him on to other projects, but still...it has to be one of the..wildest director careers there's been. 

 

Now this 'Aladdin for adults'. Directors with varied interests interest me, you never get a full picture because you only see what they're able to get made. 

 

How does a director even navigate different decades, where do they find the energy as they reach their 60s and 70s. 

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35 minutes ago, DeciderVT said:

I'll watch this but the plot synopsis reminds me of that X-Files episode where Mulder finds a djinn wrapped in a carpet in somebody's storage container.

Good episode though - might watch it this afternoon to see if my memory is playing tricks on me. 

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2 hours ago, Loik V credern said:

Still his film trajectory is ..wild. I just want to write it down..debut Mad Max at 34 years old in the late 70s. Two more. Then the Babe and Happy Feet films in the 90s and 00s, childrens films that have working with animals and working in cgi animation, how does a director make that transition.

 

The Witches of Eastwick and Lorenzo's Oil are both quite different to the rest of his output too, an incredible range of styles he's tackled over the years. 

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Caught this on the weekend, not really sure what to think. Each shot is beautifully framed, but the film wasn't quite there for me. I wonder if covid meant certain plans had to be scaled back at all. George Miller really is a master of visual storytelling, but most of the time it was talking heads it fell a bit flat IMO.

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I caught my local cinema's final showing of this today. I loved most of it, but then I'm a sucker for stories told within stories.

 

Shame to see how much it has bombed at the box office. :(

 

Spoiler

I am terrible at judging running time in cinema viewings. I knew this was a short film (108m), but they crammed so much into the flashback storytelling in the hotel room that once she finally makes her first wish, I estimated the film was pretty much over. But after that, there's still the whole London section left to go! In that final section, we get several fades to black, any of which could easily have been the ending.

 

The consensus in reviews I've read is that it loses its way once they leave the hotel room, and I have to agree; I was less enthralled by that last section in London, although I still enjoyed it.

 

One bit that didn't work for me was how overt and on-the-nose the bit with the racist neighbours in London was. Maybe it would have fitted better if their jibes were less blatant; still enough to get under Alithea's skin so that she has to go and calm down, but without the whole "you're bigots!" back and forth? At first, how out of place the scene seemed, combined with the oppressive sound design on their voices, suggested to me that they might be linked to some supernatural entity working against the Djinn (like the spider demon that blocks him in the tunnel). But nope - it's just an out of place incident that seems to be resolved by showing them how nice foreign food can be.

 

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Spoiler

Can i try my best at parodying the outrage fuelled twitter posts I sometimes see..

Are you fcking telling me that Tilda Swinton is given 3 wishes by a black genie who has spent 3 thousand years trapped inside a bottle and first thing she desires is for that black genie to be her sex slave???! I'm sick of this white supremacy bullshit, how dense is this film???

 

I guess it's in the title and Idris Elba's stories and that Tilda Swinton mentions her husband left her, but it's not there in Tilda's character at all that she listens to Elba's harrowing tales then comes out with 'i love you...I want you to love me too'. She spent the previous hour saying how much of a trickster he is that I thought she had some idea up her sleave to cleverly out think the wishes and set him free.

 

The film is different so it will gain its fans. I found the stories reminding me of the opening of The Mummy, stories told like that with narration where they skip along aren't engaging to me. And Idris is fantastic in this, Tilda Swinton's choice of accent is like nails down a chalkboard though, if she was narrating I might have bailed. 

 

The film doesn't seem that aware of how problematic the forced love story is, nor that in 2022 you can't have a character be asked by a magical genie to make 3 wishes and not touch on systematic world wide problems. It's not remotely believable that a well read, educated person, especially one who is middle or upper class, successful and content, would ignore the whole we are destroying the planet thing and simply say  'there is nothing I desire! I can't think of anything!' 

 

The film is a comedy and irreverent enough that it needed to at least address it otherwise you (or I did) get a bit distracted. You want her to ask simply to understand the extent of his powers. She's not very creative or curious is she? Her Karl Pilkington 'yeah, wouldn't want it, superheroes are never happy are they?' shtick is funnier when he does it.

 

But then i don't like Tilda Swinton in anything and all I hear is adulation for her, like there's a great film she's in where she's great in it that everyone has seen that's made people lifelong die hard fans. Is there a film? 

 

You accept it's a fantasy, but then before it ends it has the gall to have the djinn visit all our technological breakthroughs, brain surgery, the large hadron collider (mentioned as just 'the collider' for some reason which bothered me) to do the whole 'we're so smart aren't we? And yet also still dumb' Either it can address capitalism, the growth obsessed, profit over people, exploitative, debt ridden system that shapes all human behaviour or it can just go 'yeah, but humans be humans though innit?' So that's fuck this film territory. 

 

And it's blunt about bigotry, distracted by one of them being Marge from Neighbours. 

 

I listened to the shat the movies podcast review of Groundhog Day after watching it properly for the first time the other day, a film widely regarded as a classic but one of the guys on the podcast was like 'urgh, I hated how he ended up! I wanted more fucked up shit honestly'. 

 

And he does go on a police chase, robs money from a bank, electrocutes himself and throws himself off a building. I would have gone on more police chases personally if I was him but the film just wanted that section to do it all really. He punches the insurance seller and that's as violent as he'll go, he isn't gunning people down. Also, there's all the creepy manipulation to bed women. 

 

That film was just...no consequences. Not test the powers of a magical genie. I think this film could have been better. I am left wondering...what is the extent of his power? 

 

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