‘Three thousand years waiting for you’: George Miller’s suicidal project | Culture
Filmmakers’ careers are sometimes inscrutable, especially in the last stretch, when artists have far outstripped retirement age and, as human beings, they doubt between the comfort of easy projects, the placid and well-deserved retirement or the plunge into one last personal aspiration, no matter how difficult it may be.
In the mid-2000s, few gave a penny for the revitalization of George Miller’s careerthen 70 years old, who had lived his most creative moment in the late seventies and early eighties with the saga Mad Maxand a certain creative decline not exempt from commerciality at the end of the eighties and in the nineties with The Eastwick Witches, the oil of life Y Babe the brave little pig. The first 15 years of the new century had resulted in two minor animation works, from the series Happy FeetY Road to Maracana, the official film of the 2014 Brazil World Cup. In other words, growing decadence. And yet, when few were waiting for him, the spectacular Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), by no means an easy production to conceive and film, came in the form of a resounding resurrection. Miller lived, artistically, and in what way. In fact, in these summer days of 2022 she rolls furiousthe prequel to road rage.
Now, between one and the other, seven years apart, Miller has had time to carry out, with difficulties and in a pandemic, a suicidal project, is Three thousand years waiting for you which opens today in Spain after receiving very mixed reviews at the Cannes festival. A praise of narration, of the art of telling stories, of the fable, of rhetoric and of poetry, of the ancient and wonderful popular custom of telling stories. A work, yes, with just a few drops of good cinema and, in commercial matters, with an uncertain audience to address because, despite its fantasy spirit, it is not a title for kids and its adult significance falls short.
Based on the storybook by the prestigious British writer AS Byatt, The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eyeclearly inspired by Arabian Nights, narrates the encounter between a doctor of literature, a wise, independent and unattached woman, and a genie locked in a bottle that offers her the possibility of granting her three wishes. The background of the situations, of the texts and of the subtexts, has interesting material, especially in relation to multiculturalism, with the nature of desire and with that state of the human being in peace, wise for some cultures, for not linking his existence to ambition.
However, three very different aspects suppose a slab for Three thousand years waiting for you. How horrendous it is visually, with that digital photograph contrasted and retouched to the point of inexpressibility, material kitsch project of little substance and questionable style. How episodic it is, without any of its three storytelling segments hooking the viewer. And that the stories are told instead of being developed, a formula radically removed from the nature of cinema.
That the action in the present —the conversations between the writer and the genius that gradually give way to the stories— is set in a frigid hotel room with them in bathrobes does not help to soften the ugly visual impression either. And his defense of oral tradition, of the pleasure of narration, seems to be confronted with the fragmentation of the film and a final stretch in London, of romantic essence, which seems to have no end due to its successive outcomes.
Three thousand years waiting for you
Address: George Miller.
Interpreters: Tilda Swinton, Idris Elba, Peter Bertoni, Lianne Mackessy.
Gender: fancy. Australia, 2022.
Duration: 108 minutes.
Premiere: September 2.
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