Mille et Un Jours (A thousand and one days)

Mieke Bal

2004, 43:30 minutes, Colour, French w English ST


In this film on migration we celebrate the outcome of a long and intricate journey of the anguish, struggle, loneliness and financial constraints of a young "sans papiers" in Paris. Three days of the joyful celebration of his wedding establish the here-and-now of this documentary, which is organized through an Aristotelian unity of time, space and event. But from within that same event, pockets of history weigh in with darker times, tougher spaces. As if bound by elastic ties to the present of the festive moment in which the film is anchored, the characters, who tell their stories themselves, descend into memories of fear and uncertainty only to bounce back again and rejoice in the outcome. Like the collection of arabic tales from which the film's title is derived, the film organizes a multiplicity of stories around a wedding. With celebrations in full swing, the politics of immigration remains present under the surface. While highly political, this is not a one-issue, one-position film.

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