Why you should go to the cinema to see "Three Thousand Years of Wishes" – a fairy tale for adults from the director of "Mad Max"

On September 8, a new film by George Miller is released in Russian cinemas. This director is best known for the Mad Max franchise, which triumphantly returned to the screens in 2015 after a 30-year hiatus.

However, over the past years, Miller managed to direct the film adaptation of The Witches of Eastwick, the drama Lorenzo Oil and two parts of the cartoon Good Feet, and also came up with the plot of Babe, a comedy about a pig. This information is important at least in order to understand: the director works on completely different films and is not afraid to experiment.

“Three Thousand Years of Wishing” is unlike any previous work by George Miller. This is a film adaptation of Antonia Byatt’s book “The Genie in the Nightingale’s Eye” glass bottle, in which the writer rethinks classic fairy tales. But the film version is also a touching personal drama or even a melodrama dedicated to love and loneliness.

It may seem that the director made an outdated and naive film. But its simplicity is more than compensated for by the magnificent play of the main actors, the elegant visuals and the emotional ending.

“Three Thousand Years of Wishes” is a chamber talk film

Narratologist Alithea Binney (Tilda Swinton) comes to Turkey to give a lecture on art. From the very first day, strange events begin to happen to her: a mysterious man runs up at the airport, and a ghost appears during the performance.

Soon Alithea buys an old vessel at the local market, opens it in her room, and a Genie (Idris Elba) emerges from the bottle. He traditionally invites his mistress to make three wishes. But she refuses and asks a new acquaintance to start telling her story.

When George Miller released the new ” Mad Max “, rumors spread on the Web that the picture was shot without a script at all. Allegedly, there were detailed storyboards of the visual series, and dialogues and other details were invented literally on the go. Later, the director denied these speculations. The storyboards were indeed done earlier, but the picture was shot with a clear plan.

And yet, the hallmark of Mad Max has always been the movement, complemented by rare, purely functional replicas. And as if in spite of his most famous work, the director now shows exactly the opposite story. Basically, he locks the two characters in a room and forces them to communicate.

Shot from the movie “Three Thousand Years of Wishes”

After the introduction, about two-thirds of the plot is taken up by the Genie’s monologue, to which Alithea asks leading questions. Yes, his stories visualize. But at the heart of it is a simple conversation. With all the diversity of his work, Miller has never shot a movie so chamber in concept.

And here the talents of Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba come to the fore. These actors have played many character roles in recent years. But perhaps it is “Three Thousand Years of Wishing” that reveals their skills most interestingly.

Shot from the movie “Three Thousand Years of Wishes”

There are a lot of strange images in Swinton’s piggy bank. So, she shaved her head for the Marvel Cinematic Universe , reincarnated as an old man in Suspiria – so skillfully that the authors even invented a name and personality for a non-existent actor, played a half-mad heroine in Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Memory” (do not try to read this name the first time ).

And in Miller’s film, Tilda Swinton appears as an ordinary woman. Anxious, experienced a painful breakup in the past and convinced that she was fine in solitude. Instead of heavy make-up and unusual costumes, there is a bathrobe and a towel tied around the head. Instead of alien plasticity of movements – twitching hands and eyes wide open with curiosity. For a long time this wonderful actress did not allow herself to be so natural and understandable.

Shot from the movie “Three Thousand Years of Wishes”

Elba seems to have been given the opposite image – the Genie repeatedly emphasizes that he is generally an intangible being. He changes in size, wears a beautiful red robe. But with each scene, it becomes clearer that this character is a close and familiar person who has gone through many trials and finally found someone to talk to.

It’s pretty ironic for an actor who very often plays hard-boiled detectives, superheroes, supervillains, or villain-turned-heroes (an allusion to ” Suicide Squad “). He is always saving someone or hunting someone. Let Elba just sit down and tell something.

“Three thousand years of desires” is a fairy tale without banal moves

According to the previous description, it might seem that the viewer will have to look at two talking people for two hours. But cinema wouldn’t be cinema if it didn’t focus on the picture. Each story of a magical creature is visualized by Miller, sending the audience along with Alithea’s fantasy to a fabulous past. “Three Thousand Years of Desires” turns into a set of separate plots in which King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, Shehzade Mustafa and other historical and mythical figures appear.

Shot from the movie “Three Thousand Years of Wishes”

At the same time, one curious detail does not allow one to slip into a banal reworking of the fairy tales “Three Thousand Years of Desires”. Miller knowingly made the main character a narratologist, a person who studies the structure of myths and narrative in general. She is perfectly familiar with the whole epic and the rules by which such stories are built.

Therefore, Alithea becomes a reflection of an impatient viewer. She literally demands that the Genie quickly skip all the familiar parts and already tell something new. The heroine corrects the interlocutor, clarifies something, sometimes even ironically over the predictability of events.

Shot from the movie “Three Thousand Years of Wishes”

Each time, the legends of Genie become more personal and even intimate. And gradually it is revealed that they are all devoted to one topic.

“Three Thousand Years of Wishing” is a drama about loneliness

In fact, the owners of Genie dreamed of one thing – to find a loved one. And almost no one succeeded, although they asked for completely different things. But it is easy to understand the author’s hint: the main problem of all the characters is that they think only of themselves.

Shot from the movie “Three Thousand Years of Wishes”

Miller brings to the main idea of the film: the only way to get close to someone is to also take care of the person whose attention you are looking for. And the defining thing in this story is precisely the meeting of Jinn and Alithea. These heroes are very similar: each of them has always only studied other people’s lives, remaining on the sidelines. But that is why they were able to see each other and think not only about their desires. And get a chance to be happy.

And here, of course, the final credits could go, and the audience would wipe away tears from emotion. But chance doesn’t guarantee anything. And this is the last third of the picture, which finally destroys the usual fairy tale ending , where after the first kiss they only say “they lived happily ever after.”

Moreover, the director adds another subtext to the ending, which is easy to miss behind the main plot. It’s hard to talk about it without spoilers, so it’s better to dwell on a general phrase or even advice: after watching, think about whether you really need the flow of information in which you are constantly located? Maybe it’s better to once again turn off the phone, TV and the Internet and at least for a while get rid of the constant background that sometimes draws life, if not from you, then from your relationship?

Shot from the movie “Three Thousand Years of Wishes”

“Three Thousand Years of Wishing” is easy to accuse of naivety and even moralizing. But, perhaps, not all films should be evaluated cynically and disassembled by bones. George Miller made a very sincere story about the search for a kindred spirit. There are beautiful scenes here that you can admire, there are excellent actors whose performance you unconditionally believe. And there are simple but important truths that are worth remembering once again.

Read also ✨✨✨

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.