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  • The acclaimed Japanese painter Yoshitaka Amano has quite a long history of collaborating with animators. He started working as a character designer for Japanese anime when he was 15! Sadly, only very, very few of the final films show what a genius Amano really is. Mamoro Oshii's "Tenshi no Tamago" aka "Angel's Egg" succeeded in that respect, as did, albeit to a lesser extent, the two "Vampire Hunter D" films. The same can be said of the "Final Fantasy" series of games, for most of which Amano did design work. The reason that I have written the above is that "1001 Nights" is 100% pure Yoshitaka Amano! It captures the spirit, charme and magic of his drawings perfectly while simultanously expanding on them with the help of absolutely gorgeous, state-of-the-art 3-D animation.

    It would be difficult to give you a summary of the story of this stunning 24 minute film. It is, as the title implies, inspired by the Tales of 1001 Nights. It features two characters, a prince and a princes who are both dreaming. We, the viewer, are treated to their dreamscapes. In them we find beauty and ugliness, joy and terror, love and loss.

    There is no dialogue in the film, except for a short opening narration. The rest of the film is scored with beautiful orchestral music that was recorded specifically for the film and fits the events onscreen perfectly.

    If this film can be compared to anything I have seen so far, it would have to be Disney's "Fantasia", but that comparison is not completely accurate. "1001 Nights" is, while perfectly suitable for children, much more adult. It effortlessly manages to transcend the medium of film to become genuine art.

    Sadly this masterpiece is not easy to find because it hasn't been released on home video formats anywhere outside Japan. But if you ever get the chance do yourself a favour and seek this little gem out!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "1001 Nights" is a wordless BAFTA-nominated short film from 1998, so this one will soon have its 20th anniversary and this one runs for almost 24 minutes. The director here is Mike Smith and as the man in charge this may still be his most known work as of today. However, he also worked in the animation department on many well-known films, so it's no surprise that this is an animated film of course. The Asian looks from start to finish are no surprise either as many Asian artists worked on this one including Smith's fellow BAFTA nominee. 1001 Nights is of course a title that comes with an obligation for the film, namely to make a thing of beauty about love and dreams and other aspects from centuries ago perhaps. This was only partially achieved here I must say. Overall, the visual side is the best here. It will be entirely subjective of course which parts you like more and which parts you like less as that refers to your precise taste in animation. There were moments I really adored, but also others that did almost nothing for me like a Brakhage work. The story-telling here did almost nothing for me. I found it incredibly difficult to find any kind of access to the characters and plot in general and when I did, then it did not last for long. And finally the music: It was maybe slightly inferior to the animation, sometimes okay to listen to, at other times incredibly forgettable. So overall, I cannot really agree with the awards attention here. I think this could have been much better given the premise and I give it a thumbs-down overall. Don't watch.
  • 1001 Nights is a movie that came out in 1999 and should not be confused with the first hentai film ever that came out thirty years before it. It is loosely based on the famous collection composed of different tales of the same name.

    It is necessary to clarify that this movie is essentially a musical film in the likes of Disney's Fantasia, so its main focus is to present great visuals and music instead of a good story. In fact this movie was thought as an interpretation of an orchestration and nothing more so the visuals and music flows together spectacularly. Speaking of those elements, they consists of classical music and a mix between 2-D and 3-D art, more specifically, colored pencil drawings and early CGI; they somehow managed to make it right, it looks gorgeous.

    As for the story...well, it barely has one (if even). If you've read the original tales you can find references to some of them thrown in it but if you haven't all you will see is erotic sequences with a most trippy art style that equals(or even tops) the sex scene from Mind Game. You could think of it as a couple dealing with the internal demons of their relationship...or just them wanted to make love but all of a sudden are being chased by an angry demon in a really intense adventure.

    Anyway, this movie is a great example of art in its pure form both visually and musically and one of the most unique pieces in anime and that alone makes it worth watching despite not having much of a plot, or any.