Arabian Nights

Arabian Nights

(Il fiore delle Mille e una notte)

Pier Paolo Pasolini

  • 1974
  • Italia, France
  • Erotic fantasy
  • 2h35mn
  • Original version with French subtitles
  • Color
Pasolini’s personal take on the famous tales with their magic spells and erotic love trysts, keeping their trundle structure, and the adventures of Noureddine searching for his love Zoumourroud.
There’s nothing more upsetting than the souvenir: one yearling before his last film, the firebrand that was Salo, Pasolini offered with this last part of a trilogy, the most luminous of his works, a sublime ode to carnal pleasures where the young body is an altar. Never forsaking himself, the director breathes a novel enchantment into A Thousand and One Nights that owes as much to the genius of fairy tales as to the marvels of sexual innocence’s rediscovery.

Kirill Serebrennikov

For me Pier Paolo Pasolini has become one of the major apostles of cinema. a cinema poet, a philosopher, an art theorist. Without Pasolinin modern cinema would be completely different. Even today, when you look at his films from the 60s and 70s, it’s hard to believe they were made over half a century ago.

Pasolini’s films are made of a rugged odorous substance and have aphrodisiac effects.

Pasolini often avoided actors (though he worked with the divas of his time - Anna Magnani and Maria Callas), and preferred to film real people, he was attracted to real life, but in his films it would always turn into poetry. All these boys, the dockworkers, the alcoholics and pimps, the prostitutes and revolutionaries become epic heroes in Pasolini’s world.

We’ve programmed the film adapted from the Arabic and Persian tales The Thousand and One Nights, the third part of his “Trilogy of Life”, with The Decameron (1971) and The Canterbury Tales (1972). In this film, Pasolini tells the old legends with such fervor, such passion and such veracity that we immediately believe in the authenticity of what’s going on. After the “Trilogy of Life'', the director went through a creativity crisis. He was smothered by the harmony of the joyous world he had himself created.

Pasolini wrote the article “Renouncing the Trilogy of LIfe” accusing himself and his entourage of conformism towards reality. He conceived a new cycle, “Trilogy of Death” that remained unfinished. But one way or another, in his poetic cinema, Eros is always present along with Thanatos. At the end of his life, Thanatos wins, (the film

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom) and Eros tries wearing the masks of death. But in The Thousand and One Nights, it’s the opposite.

It’s an absolute hymn to life and a celebration of passion that pushes death away.


08/09 • 20h30 • Screen 100



  • With : Ninetto Davoli, Franco Citti, Tessa Bouché, Margaret Clementi
  • Screenplay : Pier Paolo Pasolini, Dacia Maraini
  • Photography : Giuseppe Ruzzolini
  • Editing : Nino Baragli, Tatiana Casini Morigi
  • Music by : Ennio Morricone
  • Production : Alberto Grimaldi