The Portuguese Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences announced today that “Arabian Nights: Vol. 2 -The Desolate One” by Miguel Gomes will represent the country at the 88th Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
The film, which premiered in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight sidebar back in May, is part of a trilogy based on the literary classic One Thousand and One Nights. The three-part magnum opus runs for over 6 and a half hours, thus making the segmentation an intelligent move to make it more accessible. Reviews have been mostly favorable for Gomes’ epic cinematic feat – especially for Volume 2 – making it an obvious candidate without much competition within the Portuguese industry.
“Arabian Nights: Vol. 2 -The Desolate One” will open in Portuguese cinemas on September 24, just barely making AMPAS cutoff date of September 30, before which all submitted films have to have played theatrically in their home countries. The first volume in Gomes’ trilogy opened in Portugal in late August bringing in almost 4,000 viewers during its opening week.
The trilogy will screen in the U.S. in the upcoming weeks as part of the 53rd New York Film Festival. Kino Lorber has U.S. Rights for all three parts. International Sales are being handled by The Match Factory.
Portugal has the worst track record of any country in the category with 31 submissions and zero nominations. Hopefully this high profile entry will break that unlucky streak.
Gomes represented the country in one previous occasion with the 2008 film “Our Beloved Month of August.”