Australian filmmaker George Miller’s latest cinematic exploration of humanity is a far cry from the dusty, diesel-fueled ‘Mad Max’ franchise he’s known for, and it proves a respite moment between 2015’s ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and the current filming of that film’s prequel, “Furiosa.” Based on the short story “The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye” by AS Byatt, adapted by Miller and Augusta Gore, “Three Thousand Years of Longing” is a philosophically ambitious project, a cerebral exploration of the function of storytelling in existence human and the sense of desire.
“Three Thousand Years of Nostalgia” is a nested matryoshka story doll. The outer layer is narrated by Alithea (Tilda Swinton), a narratologist who traveled to Turkey for a conference. Upon her arrival, she begins to meet mysterious and magical figures, what she calls jinn (another word for “genie”, referring to the Muslim belief in invisible spirits that inhabit the world and take the form of humans or animals). While giving a lecture on the continued purpose of myth in our modern science-based world, she is frightened by a jinn in the audience and passes out.
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