#CANNES22: “THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING”
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Scholar Alithea (Tilda Swinton) has always been content in her solitude. But that might change when she goes on a trip to Istanbul. While at a local shop, she finds a small glass vase. Back in her hotel, a fantastical being called a Djinn (Idris Elba) breaks free from that tiny vase. In return for his freedom, he offers Althea three wishes but they have to be her life’s deepest desires.
Visionary Writer-Director George Miller is back with this Fantasy-Romance Film. His style is on full display as we follow Alithea in her story which is told like a fairy tale. Three Thousand Years of Longing does carry a lot of narration. There’s the voice-over work from Alithea along with the stories Djinn tells of his prior failed attempts at freedom. Normally, this much narration would hinder a Film. However, Miller’s stylistic Direction makes it entertaining.
Through all of the visual spectacle found in Three Thousand Years of Longing, there is a tender story of finding love in unique circumstances. Additionally, Miller is telling a story about the importance of telling one’s life story. He does this through Alithea and Djinn. She is adamant she’s lived a life of pleasant solitude and doesn’t believe she has a deep desire. Instead, she takes an interest in Djinn’s three thousand years trapped by a magician’s curse.
It’s the stories Djinn tells that draw Alithea to him. Learning about his prior passions, heartbreaks and longings makes her fall for him. Swinton, as usual, is spellbinding. She brings a comedic layer to Alithea that resonates with the audience. Elba is the perfect choice as this Djinn yearns for freedom. He brings humanity to this fantastical being. The chemistry between the two gets stronger as the story progresses. This isn’t a fault, it’s a strength. It shows the progression in their feelings for one another.
Three Thousand Years of Longing has an important message on freedom and love: that it can’t be forced.
Three Thousand Years of Longing screens at Cannes ’22:
Fri, May 20 at 7:00 PM at GRAND THÉÂTRE LUMIÈRE
Say, May 21 at 6:30 PM at CINEUM IMAX