After an exceptional year 2021 in July, Cannes is back in May for its 2022 edition and its rich selection of around a hundred more or less expected films. After its zombie opening with Cut!, the festival is therefore in full swing and unveils a little more of its gems (or not) every day. It’s time for us to give you our hot opinion on Three thousand years waiting for youthe new film by George Miller, seven years later Mad Max: Fury Road.
What is it about ? Alithea is a narratologist and studies different cultural histories around the world. During a trip to Istanbul, she buys a bottle in a bazaar and discovers that it contains a Djinn (a Genie). The latter then offers her to grant three wishes, but Alithea intends to know more about the Djinn before venturing to formulate them.
How was it ? Three thousand years waiting for you is indisputably one of those films that seems minor at first viewing, with only its two main characters, Alithea and the Djinn – wonderfully embodied by Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba -, and their discussion in a simple hotel room. However, from the very first seconds, Alithea’s voice-over and this shot of a plane in full flight, George Miller sends a clear message: a great journey awaits us.
Because Three thousand years waiting for you takes place precisely over three thousand years, an immense temporality in relation to the life of the Djinn, and the stories he will tell us throughout his exchange with Alithea. Thus, after having somewhat introduced her heroine Alithea and the way she sees the world (the myths of yesteryear are explained by the sciences of today, when their monsters are seen as metaphors), the feature film literally plunges into the stories and memories of the Djinn.
A wonderful duo
George Miller then transforms this little introduction into a sort of tale of Thousand and one Night, where the Djinn of Idris Elba transports us to the time of the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon, the Turkish-Persian wars or the ingenuity of the 19th century. Passing through all its eras, George Miller offers himself a teeming playground, celebrating the power of storytelling, fiction and imagination. On paper, the idea has something rather silly or innocent, but George Miller manages without any difficulty to sublimate these stories thanks to an absolutely mesmerizing formal audacity.
The Australian filmmaker indeed has a striking ability to juggle between, on the one hand, sequences of impressive magnitude (a few warrior flashbacks close to 300, purely mythological and monstrous ideas, magical hues…) making it possible to bring the memories and adventures of the Djinn more alive than ever and, on the other hand, a much more intimate and interior camera. A variation of genres, styles, eras, from which the charm and beauty of the film are born (the splendid ocher of Ottoman flashbacks)interspersed with a few transitions of surprising elegance (and fluidity).
Three thousand years waiting for you then deploys all the power of stories, the only vector capable of linking past, present and future, while confronting fantasies with reality (and vice versa) to better overcome barriers. Stories are perhaps the only ones that stay forever in hearts and minds, and manage to transcend souls and destinies.
Thereby the magic tales of the Djinn are transformed into a real metaphysical journey and gradually become the breeding ground for fascinating reflections on human existencethe mysteries of certain emotions, in particular love (a primordial element in the story), and the beauty of mortality and therefore of the human condition in a way.
Isn’t accepting one’s own mortality the best way to find the keys to happiness? For a Djinn, isn’t confronting human desires the only solution to avoid the mistakes of the past and better enjoy his eternal life? And finally, by relentlessly neglecting what surrounds him, isn’t Man destroying his own happiness when everything is under his eyes?
In the continuity of Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller continues to question the environment (just as much as the place of women in society thanks to skilfully written female characters), even if Three thousand years waiting for you is its absolute opposite in terms of rhythm and action.
Proof once again of the vigor of the filmmaker, capable of touching on a new form of cinema while continuing to build his own story as a storyteller of genius. As a result, a great poetic, humanist and soothing (especially in its third act) on the passage of time and a very beautiful film that stays in the memory, of those that we would have liked never to see end.
And when is it coming out? August 24 in France, and you are already dreaming of being there without knowing it.