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Three thousand years waiting for you, a breathtaking love story by George Miller

During the Cannes Film Festival, Konbini shares its favorites with you.

Three thousand waiting for you, what’s this ?

We all remember the shock felt seven years ago now in front of Mad Max: Fury Road, the explosive fourth part of a saga initiated by George Miller. An underestimated man, who we take for the one who led pigs in Babe and made an animated film anything but lambda, Happy Feet. Nevertheless Fury Road reminded who’s boss, and while we wait for the prequel Furyosathe Australian wanted to take a break between these grueling and enormous shoots with a “smaller movie” : Three thousand years waiting for you.

The story of Alithea (Tilda Swinton), a British narratology teacher who, when she finds herself in Istanbul for a conference, discovers a bottle that will make a genie, a jinn (Idris Elba) appear. Three wishes, which she does not desire, she whose loneliness is a choice. A discussion then begins between the two beings, each telling their story, their desires, their fears. Does this seem minimal? On the contrary.

Why is it good?

It’s always pleasant to see a confirmed filmmaker make a declaration of love for the seventh art. He doesn’t do it as frontally as Hazanavicius, but Miller makes this fine gesture of returning to the basics of cinema, namely telling stories, illustrating what was at the origins of feature films, of this oral narration . When the jinn goes to tell Alithea how he found himself imprisoned in this bottle three times, we find ourselves in long and very beautiful flashbacks that take us from Yemen to the former Ottoman Empire.

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The director will draw on the mechanics of the story to show us how a story works, what are its limits, its repetitive elements, its liberating elements. Miller, who seems to be the reincarnation of the character of Tilda Swinton, questions our relationship to these stories: is that enough to make us happy? From someone who suffered while making their last masterpiece and is about to return to it, this is more than meaningful.

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He could do all this on the fly, not giving a damn. After all, they’re just a duo in a hotel room telling each other stories. It looks like the classic containment film made with the means at hand. Nay. The immensity of the flashbacks thanks to the grandiloquent decorations, with monsters, mythological figures, goes to the antipodes. For the little story, Miller wanted to adapt this short story by AS Byatt since the end of the 1990s. It is therefore clearly a false short film, a false children’s film about tales.

Especially since, at the average level, it’s impressive. It’s much more beautiful, busier and more impressive than the last one Aladdin by Guy Ritchie – a genie in a lamp, inspired by Thousand and one Night, the comparison holds. While it has a budget three times smaller (60 million against 180). He works on his frame, has fun with his camera effects, his transitions.

There isn’t a shot in these flashbacks that doesn’t offer a new idea of ​​cinema. Even if it means touching on Nanardesque kitsch, which he always dodges despite the bombast of these ideas. Visually, few films this year should disorient us in this way, while questioning our relationship to death, life, love – and drying up our tear glands.

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Coming from a 77-year-old filmmaker, there is something to be impressed about.

What do we retain?

The actor who stands out: the duo, obviously (with a preference for Tilda Swinton)

The main quality: his mad ambition

The main flaw: some sequences at the beginning may seem long

A film that you will like if you liked: Aladdin, and the filmography of George Miller

It could have been called: The Djinn in the Lamp

The quote to sum up the film: “An exotic and impressive journey to the origins of cinema”

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