Master director George Miller is back after a seven-year hiatus. His last movie remains in our memory like the first day. After Mad Max: Fury Road, which many have named among the best films of the 21st century, even by Cahiers du Cinema, we expected a solid movie from the director. This movie is not that movie. But we can’t say it’s a bad movie. George Miller, as usual, shows his mastery of directing and storytelling. However, everything that disrupts the film’s tempo and reduces its quality, unfortunately, is of Turkish origin. I’m sorry, but the truth is bitter.
Let’s briefly touch on the subject… Alithea(Tilda Swinton), a lonely woman devoted to learning, comes to Istanbul for a conference. As with every foreigner, they take her to the Grand Bazaar. There, Alithea, who bought herself a glass bottle, accidentally breaks the bottle, and a Djinn emerges from it and says she has three wishes classically. However, Alithea says that since she knows the mythology by heart, wishing will end badly. After that, Djinn begins to tell her about his life and tries to persuade her to wish.
The film draws its strength from its fairy-tale narration. We can say that the stories and designs told, especially in the Ottoman part, do not match the original, but neither the author of the book, A.S. Neither Byatt nor director George Miller is seeking the truth. Instead, the director chose to distance the legends from reality by making them fairy tales. Thus, he had the chance to present a visual feast. Some scenes in the Ottoman part and the Sheba part were really amazing. Especially the Sheba episode is the best part of the movie. The directing, fantastic details, and visuals of this section, which is based on the simplicity of the men, are truly magnificent.
The director offers us a short journey through the language of a Djinn who has lived for centuries. At the story’s heart is the allegorical relationship of the nostalgic period with the present. Fairy-tale times have left their place to a world dedicated to science, away from all those heroes. Science is also the basis of the director’s distance from the “reality.” Because we are in a rational world now. That’s why, instead of reflecting the Ottoman Empire with its real image, George Miller chooses a fairy-tale method. Although this approach appeals to me, there is a problem with the operation of the film. Unfortunately, this problem is not related to the director.
Most of the movie takes place in Turkey, and almost half of the actors are Turkish. Even Idris Elba speaks Turkish. However, no one must have come out and told Idris Elba how absurd he speak. All the Turkish actors in the movie, including Zerrin Tekindor, which is a great actress, did a lousy job. The acting is terrible, and the lines are awful. At the root of this problem is that Turkey and the actors in Turkey are not accustomed to such magnificent works. Unfortunately, they pulled down a film that should have been international by staying local again. Even when there were Turks in the cast, no one said, “there is a problem here” because most of the crew were foreigners.
To sum it up… Three Thousand Years of Longing might have been one of the cult movies of fairy tale cinema, but unfortunately, it missed the opportunity due to the slow pace and poor workmanship in the Turkish parts. It’s not about the director that George Miller, who did a great job in the Sheba part, did a lousy job when it came to Ottoman. However, I really liked the director’s point of view, which examines the difference between the present and the past. The fairy-tale-like narration, which moves away from the truth, is also outstanding. The conversations between Alithea and Gin are also enjoyable. But here, something went wrong, and the movie missed the point of being “that” perfect.
Cast & Crew
director: George Miller
writers: George Miller, Augusta Gore, A.S. Byatt(based upon the short story “The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye” by)
starring: Tilda Swinton, Idris Elba
USA | 2022 | 108 MINUTES |