Portugal, Germany, France, Switzerland


VOL. 1
In which Scheherazade tells of the restlessness that befell the country: “It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that in a sad country among all countries, where people dream of mermaids and whales, and unemployment is spreading. In certain places, forests burn into the night despite the falling rain; men and women long to set out to sea in the middle of Winter. Sometimes there are animals that talk although it is highly improbable that they are listened to. In this country, where things are not what they appear to be, men of power promenade on camels and hide permanent and shameful erections; they await the moment when taxes are collected so they can pay a certain wizard whom...” And seeing the morning break, Scheherazade fell silent.

VOL. 2
In which Scheherazade tells of how desolation invaded men: “It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that a distressed judge will cry instead of giving out her sentence on a night when all three moons are aligned. A runaway murderer will wander through the land for over forty days and will teletransport himself to escape the Police while dreaming of prostitutes and partridges. A wounded cow will reminisce about a thousand-year-old olive tree while saying what she must say, which will sound none less than sad! The residents of a tower block in the suburbs will save parrots and piss inside lifts while surrounded by dead people and ghosts; including in fact a dog that...”. And seeing the morning break, Scheherazade fell silent.

— “Damned tales! If things continue this way my daughter will surely end up with her throat slit!” — the Grand-Vizier, Scheherazade’s father, thinks in his palace in Bagdad.

VOL. 3
In which Scheherazade doubts that she will still be able to tell stories to please the King, given that what she has to tell weighs three thousand tons. She therefore escapes from the palace and travels the kingdom in search of pleasure and enchantment. Her father, the Grand-Vizier, arranges to meet her at the Ferris wheel and Scheherazade resumes her narration: “O auspicious King, in old shanty towns of Lisbon there was a community of bewitched men who, with all dedication and passion, devoted themselves to teaching birds to sing...”. And seeing the morning break, Scheherazade fell silent.

Director's Statement

In this film, we intend to do two things simultaneously: 1) to take up the delirious fictional spirit of the ‘Arabian Nights’ and especially reaffirm, through this and with this the bond that unites the King and Scheherazade (the imperious need for sto- ries), and 2) to outline a portrait or chronicle of Portugal dur- ing a whole year (at a time when the country is subject to the effects of ‘austerity measures’ created by the Troika’s financial aid package). Fiction and social portrait, flying carpets and strikes. These are two dimensions that are apparently unre- lated or that we have grown used to arrange in different boxes, as it were. But imagination and reality have never been able to exist without each other (and Scheherazade knows this well).

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Miguel Gomes

Written by: Miguel Gomes, Mariana Ricardo, Telmo Churro

Produced by: Luís Urbano

Cinematography: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom

Editing: Telmo Churro

Production Design: Silvia Grabowski

Costume Design: Silvia Grabowski, Lucha D’Orey

Sound Design: Miguel Martins, Vasco Pimentel, Vasco Pimentel

Cast: Crista Alfaiate, Luísa Cruz, Américo Silva, Adriano Luz, Chico Chapas, Rogério Samora

Nominations and Awards

  • European Sound Designer 2015
  • Feature Film Selection 2015