ARABIAN NIGHTS (IL FIORE DELLE MILLE E UNA NOTTE) (director/writer: Pier Paolo Pasolini; screenwriter: Dacia Maraini; cinematographer: Giuseppe Ruzzolini; editors: Nino Baragli/Tatiana CasiniMorigi; music: Ennio Morricone; cast: Ninetto Davoli (Aziz), Franco Citti (The Demon), Franco Merli (Mur El- Din), Ines Pellegrini (Zumurrud), Margaret Clementi (Aziz’s Mother), Tessa Bouché (Aziza); Runtime: 130; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Alberto Grimaldi; Film Prestige; 1974-Italy-in Italian with English subtitles)
“Though not emotionally involving, it’s visually beautiful and the stories have a dazzling magical appeal.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The last and best leg of the medieval trilogy by Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini (“Accattone!”/”Teorema”/”The Gospel According to St. Matthew”), in his penultimate film following The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales. It’s a lighthearted romp in flights of fancy that has ten erotic romantic tales that are framed around the story of the callow youth Mur El- Din (Franco Merli ) searching for his bubbly kidnapped slave girl Zumurrud(Ines Pellegrini), who under strange circumstances while dressed as a man is made a city king and is forced to marry a young girl.
Pasolini took two years to film it and shot it in Yemen, Eritrea, Iran and Nepal. Though not emotionally involving, it’s visually beautiful and the stories have a dazzling magical appeal. Pasolini lays out themes of betrayal, loss and atonement that involve slaves, kings, bandits and demons, with every sequence sexually charged.
This bawdy cut version from 155 minutes to 130 minutes, leaves some of the ten tales cut and gives the pic a muddled feeling.
REVIEWED ON 8/10/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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