An Infinite Night, 2008

18:46 min.

In 1974 Pier Paolo Pasolini released The Arabian Nights (Il fiore delle mille e una notte), the last film in his Trilogy of Life and the second-to-last film he ever made. In this adaptation of the 1001 Nights, Pasolini discarded the classic tale of Scheherazade in order to focus on a more obscure story about a female slave, Zumurrud, and her master, Nuraldin. In the tale, the woman chooses her master from a crowd at the slave market and gives him the money to buy her. The two become lovers and are separated when she is kidnapped. She escapes her kidnappers disguised as a man and becomes king of a city. In the end, she finds her lover and has him brought to her as a servant.

An Infinite Night is the title of a screenplay I wrote for a B-movie remake of this subplot, in which the story is transposed to a dystopian, science-fiction future in the US. The main character—named for the actress Ines Pellegrini who played the main role in Pasolini's film—is separated from the man she loves after a terrorist attack. She is kidnapped by the right-wing militia behind the attack, and then escapes from them disguised as a male soldier. She becomes the leader of a rebel group and leads them in overthrowing the militia. The screenplay ends in an echo of the Pasolini film. She has her lover brought to her as a servant before revealing her true identity to him.

For the video, scenes from the screenplay were acted out and shot in an empty space in Berlin. The fragments of the film that will never be made are tied together with sections of still photographs taken in the Chihuahua desert in West Texas. The missing narrative, as well as the history and story behind the film are related through a voice-over discussion between a man and a woman that accompanies the desert landscapes.

Cast and Crew

Ines Martha Fessehatzion
Nathan Cameron Abadi
Villain Oliver Ralli
Female Narrator Claudia Kasebacher
Direction, Writing, Male Narrator Geoffrey Garrison
Camera Marco Quandt / Georg Schönharting
Sound Heimo Lattner

Produced with the generous support of Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, Innsbruck, Austria.