OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

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The ByTowne is now closed.

It's possible that, after the pandemic has been brought under control,
new management will take over the space and offer big-screen wonderfulness again.

The building is being maintained, with all its facilities and equipment intact,
in preparation for that hoped-for day.
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Arabian Nights Volume 2

The Desolate One

ByTowne members can buy an advance ticket to see all three films in the Arabian Nights series for just $18!

Thrillingly inventive, wildly ambitious, and as urgent as it is playful, Miguel Gomes’s three-part epic adopts the structure of the classic One Thousand And One Nights to explore Portugal’s plunge into austerity. One of the most important films of the year, Arabian Nights was a major hit at Cannes.

Poster art for Arabian NightsA majestic, modern-day folk tale, the tragicomic trilogy from Portugal channels Gomes’s outrage at his country’s enduring economic crisis into an exhilarating fresco of contemporary life, narrated by a winsome modern-day Scheherazade in a series of tales of woe and wonder.

Volume 2: The Desolate One relates how desolation has invaded humanity through stories involving a distressed judge presiding over a series of absurdist cases, a runaway, a teleporting murderer, a wounded cow, and – Arabian Nights’ runaway star – a luckless but forever loyal dog named Dixie. Speaking grim truths about economic paranoia and social chaos, this is the most wistful and heart-rending of the three films, balancing eccentric dolefulness with sensual delights and one helluva soundtrack. [Ed. note: For those with upcoming trivia contests, Vol. 2 is Portugal’s official submission for the Foreign Language Oscar this year.]

Wilfully sprawling and gently intimate, Gomes’s opus – like the classic Arabian Nights tales it evokes – is both of its time and forever enduring. An unmissable cinematic event, Arabian Nights is best viewed in succession and in its entirety.

– Andrea Picard, Toronto International Film Festival

Volume 1: The Restless One screens February 16 & 17

Volume 3: The Enchanted One comes to the ByTowne March 1 & 2.

ByTowne members can buy a ticket for all three films for $18.

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