Khaleej Times - City Times
Veering from Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller debuts 3,000 Years
bye. And he wanted it to finish with Another Place, Another Time. And we went “Oh (expletive), that’s great.” He said the whole performances. We said, “Oh, great. So you’re talking about, like, a good movie.”
The more distance we get from the films and music of mid-century America, the more it seems to me that was such a fertile period of creation that will never be repeated. Like: Wherever Jerry Lee Lewis came from is not a place anyone comes from anymore.
COEN: I totally agree. It’s like, yeah, it’s all gone now. COOKE: Things aren’t discovered the same way. For Jerry Lee, when he was young, going to a blues club was nothing he had access to before and it became this incredible passion. Everything now is so large, so global — not that that’s necessarily a bad thing — but it doesn’t feel like it has the same passion as it did in the ‘30s, ’40s, ‘50s.
What’s your personal thresholds in the behavior of an artist and the art they make? Trouble in Mind pointedly doesn’t seek to cast judgment. COEN: If it’s a good movie, that’s why it’s good. What are we supposed to make of that? Right. That’s a permitted question. That’s what makes the movie interesting. How do you put that magnetic performer together with that flawed person? It’s kind of like — I mean none of the Beatles married their 13-year-old cousin — but it’s kind of like the Beatles movie and why it’s so thrilling. You go: Wow. These are both huge cultural figures and smaller-than-life human beings.
Jerry Lee is much the same. I don’t think any sane person is going to ask to embargo the music because his character had certain flaws. Who imposes that choice? All glory to T-bone for presenting us with the opportunity and saying that it’s going to be about Jerry Lee, about this musician, and it’s not going to be about talking heads telling us what to think about Jerry Lee or about us editorializing, telling the audience what to think about Jerry Lee. All of those things are not recipes for making a good movie and no service to Jerry. AP
It’s taken a lot of time and a good deal of yearning for Australian director George Miller to make Three Thousand Years of Longing, his longawaited follow-up to Mad Max: Fury Road.
Miller premiered Three Thousand Years of Longing over the weekend at the Cannes Film Festival, the culmination of a journey that began 20 years ago when Miller first read the A. S. Byatt story upon which the film is based, The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye.
But it was only when frictions over the profits from Fury Road — Miller’s operatic action opus — opened a window that the time came for Three Thousand Years of Longing.
“After we wrote it, it was really a question of when to do it,” Miller said alongside his stars, Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton, shortly before the film’s premiere in Cannes. “It was lucky, actually. We got into litigation with Warner Bros. on Fury Road and it meant that, hey, we can bring this to the fore.”
Three Thousand Years of Longing
was scripted by Miller and his daughter, first-time screenwriter Augusta Gore. In it, Swinton plays a narratol
ogist named Alithea Binnie who is visiting Turkey for a conference on how science has replaced mythology.
After Alithea buys an old bottle at the Grand Bazaar and scrubs it in her hotel sink, a wish-granting djinn (Elba) appears, filling up the room. A lengthy and intimate conversation ensues, in which he tells her about his previous masters throughout the last 3,000 years. Using computer-generated imagery, Miller blends mythology and modern world in a contemplative, history-spanning fairy tale that resolutely believes in magic.
“There are some people who are great storytellers, who can do it as a performance,” Miller says. “I know that I struggle with that. I can’t get up and tell a spontaneous story well. But I can do it in the ultra-slow motion of telling a movie, where I think about every nuance, every rhythm of it.”
And for all the eras it spans, the movie reaches right up to today. The pandemic is seen late in the film in scenes where background actors are wearing masks. “When we started talking about this film, it felt very right,” Swinton says. “But now, this year, it’s even more. And I imagine it will be even more the next.”
To Miller, Three Thousand Years of Longing doesn’t just lead up to now — it goes beyond.
“Time will tell if it has enough stuff going in it that other people respond to it. You hope that the story becomes someone else’s and belongs to everyone,” he said. AP
Time will tell if it has enough stuff going in it that other people respond to it. You hope that the story becomes someone else’s and belongs to everyone.” George Miller