“Arabian Nights,” a three-part, six-hour-plus drama from the Portuguese director Miguel Gomes (“Tabu”), will make its world premiere in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the Cannes Film Festival, the Fortnight has announced.
Likely to clock in as the longest entry at Cannes this year, the film was apparently highly regarded by the official selection committee and had been heavily considered for competition. But organizers balked at the lengthy running time, which would have effectively taken up two competition slots, and offered the film an Un Certain Regard berth. Gomes opted to take the film to Directors’ Fortnight instead.
Gomes isn’t the only high-profile auteur to ditch the official selection for the Directors’ Fortnight, which earlier this week announced that it would present the world premiere of Arnaud Desplechin’s “My Golden Years” (which had also been turned down from competition). The program will open with Philippe Garrel’s “In the Shadow of Women.”
The selection of these three films underscores the rising profile of Directors’ Fortnight, which has been empowered by the arrival of artistic director Edouard Waintrop in 2012.
“Arabian Nights,” which is being sold by the Match Factory, is a trilogy of films that filter Portugal’s social and financial woes through the perspective of a contemporary Scheherazade figure. Waintrop called it “a breath-taking triptych” that “will set the pace of our program.”
Waintrop also noted that, rather than showing all six hours at once, the Fortnight would screen each of the three installments — titled “Volume 1, The Restless One,” “Volume 2, The Desolate One” and “Volume 3, The Enchanted One” — on a different day of the festival.
The selection reps a sort of homecoming for Gomes, whose sophomore feature, “Our Beloved Month of August,” premiered in Directors’ Fortnight in 2008. His follow-up, “Tabu,” was a critical and festival darling after world premiering in competition at Berlin in 2012.
The Directors’ Fortnight runs May 14-24.