EntertainmentFantasy and love for the ages: A review of George Miller's '3,000...

Fantasy and love for the ages: A review of George Miller’s ‘3,000 Years of Longing’

Manila, Sept. 13 — Fury Road; it’s not surprising to find that 77-year-old director George Miller has had his fans clamouring for still another Mad Max sequel; or at the very least, a film that thrives in a similar domain. So I loved it when Miller announced that he would be bringing his new film to Cannes and that it would be an ‘anti-Mad Max film’.

“3,000 Years of Longing” is, as Miller advertised, more the Miller of Babe and Happy Feet, than that of his Mad Max franchise. It artfully blends fantasy and magic, with a love story; but all done in his inimitable Miller-style. Based loosely on an AS Byatt novella, the film is clearly Miller ruminating on the nature of desire, of longing, of love and escape, and doing so on a grand scale that transpires over centuries, and in exotic locations.

There are two central characters, a narratology academic named Alithea (Tilda Swinton), and the fabled djinn (Idris Elba) she unleashes from a bottle she picked up in an Istanbul flea market. And remember what I said about desire, longing et al, it applies to both characters, and this helps bestow the special magic that’s created in the film. It’s set in the present day, but the djinn’s presence allows him to flashback to his existence in previous centuries.

Miller’s dazzling trademark framing and camera work is on display here, and you’ll love the cheeky sense of humor and sly social commentary that abounds in the narrative. References to the COVID virus are present, but they never overshadow the story Miller is expounding on. You’ll be reminded of films and stories like Arabian Nights, Aladdin, the Shannon Chakraborty novels, and E.T.; but with decidedly new twists and turns.

Tilda Swinton in “3,000 Years of Longing.”

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There is a point when you’ll wonder if Miller could have made the film end earlier and thus add poignancy, but it’s obvious that this is exactly what he had in mind, to have the story come full circle and leave a sense of having completed its orbit. As Swinton’s character once remarks about symmetry, so is Miller ready to say symmetry can be overvalued, but if it’s his intent to let it happen, no one is telling him otherwise.

Swinton is impeccably cast as the academic who has her own version of ‘longing’, while Elba displays a more vulnerable side to his acting. It’s basically against type for Elba, and you’ll like how he pulls it off.

There’s something old-fashioned, or at the very least, against the grain and trend of today’s filmmaking and story-telling in 3,000 Years of Longing; and perhaps that’s precisely why the film worked for me. It confounds all the Mad Max/Miller faithful, and demonstrates that even at his age, he can be a stubborn, but always interesting, storyteller of cinema.

3,000 Years of Longing opens in theaters on Wednesday, Sept. 14; and kudos to the film distribution company that took the option on this film. It’s a brave choice, and I love that we now have the opportunity to watch this film and savor the diversity of what Miller can conjure up.

For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at contentservices@htlive.comManila Bulletin

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