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LRB Screen X MUBI: Arabian Nights: Volume 1, The Restless One 15

Screened in partnership with London Review of Books
Miguel Gomes, Portugal, France, Germany, 2015, 125m.

LRB Screen, the London Review Bookshop’s long-running film series, continues its year-long exploration of the art of literary adaptation in partnership with MUBI.

Arabian Nights: Volume 1, The Restless One (2015), the first in a trilogy of films by the Portuguese auteur Miguel Gomes, uses the framing device and other structural elements of its titular inspiration to explore the state of austerity in contemporary Portugal across all strata of society. Tonally and formally various, weaving together stories from diverse sources, locations, characters and scenarios, it’s a satirical, sobering and invigorating account of how meaning is made, power challenged and justice sought. It’s also a vivid, uninhibited celebration of the imagination itself. Hugely acclaimed upon its release, Jonathan Romney wrote in the Observer that ‘it was the most authentically crazy film on show here, the biggest splash of true innovation in Cannes, and an unmissable art event.’

Introducing the film with a brief history of adaptations and reimaginings of the 1001 Nights will be the great mythographer and contributing editor of the LRB, Marina Warner. Her celebrated 2011 study, Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights, remains the pre-eminent account of how and why its approach to storytelling casts such an enduring and universally influential spell.

Crista Alfaiate, Dinarte Branco, Carloto Cotta

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