Arabian Nights ★★★★

The most bizarre and perhaps fun of the Pasolini films I’ve encountered so far (only four for the record). On its surface, it’s his least “political” film, or at the film that seems to be the least interested in distancing its audience from the content. It’s a very loose adaptation of the Persian epic, abandoning the framing story for a series of tales that uses one of the stories to both open and end the film. But that doesn’t stop Pasolini from going Don Quixote on us, reaching three if not four levels of storytelling at one point. The film indulges in mostly sex stories with lots of gender swapping and reversal dynamics to fill Pasolini’s usual need of transgression; here it is more toward jokes and the comedy than say the more serious didacticism of something like Teorama. It’s been too long now, but I remember having a good time with this one.