Scheherazade tells three more tales. The crushing social impact of Portugal’s recent austerity policies remains the running theme. Her first tale centres on an elderly fugitive Simao, suffering from a disease that prevents him from getting fat even though he eats heartily. He roams the countryside trying to elude the police, who are looking for him for several murders. In an ironic turn of events, he becomes a local hero simply because he manages to defy the much-hated authorities. The second tale shows a stern judge hearing a case that starts out quite simply but quickly grows so convoluted that everyone in the audience turns out to be implicated. The third tale follows the perspective of a poodle, Dixie, as she is shuttled between multiple owners in the same working-class suburban housing estate – a tower block that compresses the joys and sorrows of an entire nation.
Inspired by Scheherazade’s stories, Miguel Gomes’ trio of pics acts as a melancholy paean to a broken Portugal and a denunciation of European financial control. All sorts of nonfiction and fiction stories are woven together in a tapestry of frustration, melancholy and burlesque.
Born in 1972 in Lisbon, Gomes graduated from the Lisbon Film and Theatre School and worked as a film critic for the Portuguese press between 1996 and 2001. He rose to international attention already with his shorts. His feature films, Our Beloved Month of August and Tabu, solidified his international recognition. Tabu won two awards at the Berlin Film Festival and was sold to over 50 countries.