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Ken Walters Group

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Vissarion Sharapov
Vissarion Sharapov

Three Thousand Years Of Longing 2022

As such, the centre of Three Thousand Years of Longing is about bookish Alithea (Tilda Swinton), transported to a conference on storytelling via an airline, "Shahrazad," named after the daughter of the vizier of the all-powerful Sasanian king Shahryār, who agrees to marry the despot (who's given to murdering his wives the morning after he has taken their virginity), thus staying her execution by spinning tales with cliffhangers for 1001 nights. Alithea is there to deliver the keynote speech about how stories are the essential way human culture is perpetuated, but she's interrupted twice--once at the airport and then again in the middle of her speech--by manifestations of the mythologies that have been the animating force of her life and scholarship. It won't be the last time her message of how stories have the potential to repair our fractured world will be interrupted--cosmically refuted, even, sometimes by the very gods and monsters she invests in our salvation. Recovered from her temporary fugue, she visits a bazaar and searches through a pile of unsorted doodads, landing on a misshapen glass bottle she is sure has a good story attached to it. The next morning, she attaches a good story to it. Three Thousand Years of Longing is about a brilliant white Scottish woman who must come to terms late in life with the toll of cultural appropriation, even when it's done with the best, the most respectful, the most passionate of intentions. Alithea "uncorks" her bazaar find and releases Djinn (Idris Elba), who immediately offers her three wishes. Alithea, though, wants for nothing--and, being a bit of an expert in this area, she knows these stories usually end with the moral of being careful what one wishes for. She doesn't want anything except the stories the Djinn has collected over his 3,000 years of existence. Beholden to her, Djinn complies.

Three Thousand Years of Longing 2022

The relationship between scholar and studied--and, by extension, stories and their interpreters--is in question here: Are stories for everyone to hear? It seems irrefutable in an intellectual life. Are stories for everyone to tell? More complicated, but sure, you can tell whatever story you want. There's a difference, however, between playing the notes and hearing the music. Stories retold gain details as quickly as they lose them. When they are told by people not of the originating cultures, the mass they gain will be culturally impure. Three Thousand Years of Longing argues that it may be impossible to keep anything pure without access to the source. I studied Latin in college for three years to read and translate the Aeneid. But the space the text travelled from page to my understanding of it was nonetheless massive and unmapped. I cannot experience this story as it was told, because my experience is so different from the teller's. It matters the vehicle for the tale, and coercing tales from reluctant tellers is a form of anthropological violence as invasive as archeologists robbing graves to lard the exhibits of colonial museums. We understand this on a micro level when we decline to share abuse stories suffered by others. Those are "their tales to tell." We don't understand this quite as well on a macro level when distinct cultural epics are strip-mined for a global marketplace, and the people doing the adapting are favoured for their ability to sand the edges off cultural markers. Unseasoned porridge is the goal, hence unseasoned porridge is, more often than not, the consequence. But there are motives beyond profit driving people to appropriate cultures they've been taught are more exotic than theirs. There's a...longing for a more captivating creation story shared in the company of a romanticized people oppressed beneath the boot of, often, one's own culture. It is the fetishization of conqueror for the conquered, and there is nothing more quotidian in human cultural evolution.

A sweeping romance. An adventure of escape. An epic told over thousands of years. A commentary on storytelling itself. A hopeful whisper. The newest from writer/director/mad man extraordinaire Dr. George Miller is all these things and none of these things. Hence is the magic of one of the most daring, provocative, and ravishing films of 2022.

We have seen this plot before. A Genie or Djinn (Idris Elba) is unlocked from his Prison by an unsuspecting human (Tilda Swinton) only to grant her three wishes before he can be free. Though never as how conceived by novelist AS Byatt and adapted by screenwriters Miller and Augusta Gore. Rather than be your traditional Arabian Nights-inspired tale, they have conceived a story that takes into account our technology-driven era where we have heard the tale of Aladdin a thousand times before.

World Premiere out of competition at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. A lonely and bitter British woman discovers an ancient bottle while on a trip to Istanbul and unleashes a djinn who offers her three wishes. Filled with apathy, she is unable to come up with one until his stories spark in her a desire to be loved. 041b061a72


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