Three Thousand Years of Longing: everything you need to know

Director George Miller and a starry cast sweep us through the history of humankind in this week's new release, Three Thousand Years of Longing.

Here's what you need to know about the movie, which hits Cineworld screens on Friday.


1. What is the story of Three Thousand Years of Longing?

Bookish academic Alithea Binnie appears content with her life of solitude and study. However, upon a visit to Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, Alithea unwittingly summons a Djinn who makes her a choice: he'll grant Alithea three wishes in exchange for his freedom.

Upon each wish being granted, Alithea is taken on an extraordinary journey throughout time and space as she contemplates the meaning of her own existence.


2. Who stars in Three Thousand Years of Longing?

The cast is led by the heavyweight British double-act of Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton, playing the Djinn and Alithea.

Elba, who can currently be seen in killer Lion movie Beast, is renowned for his multifaceted career that spans film, TV and music. From his role as the BBC's moody detective Luther to his revelatory turn as the leader of a gang of child soldiers in Beasts of No Nation, Elba continues to demonstrate his range.

Swinton is one of the UK's most mercurial performers, having brought a captivating, androgynous quality to her early collaborations with director Derek Jarman. In recent years, Swinton's appeal has gone relatively more mainstream, ranging from the disquieting We Need To Talk About Kevin to Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch.


3. Who directs Three Thousand Years of Longing?

The director is the eclectic George Miller whose ability to traverse genres and styles has won him critical acclaim. Miller is perhaps best known as the father of the Mad Max series, which reached its wonderfully demented apex with the overwhelming, Oscar-winning Mad Max: Fury Road. (Prequel movie Furiosa will reach us in 2024.)

However, Miller's skills have also extended to darkly comic fantasy (The Witches of Eastwick), sensitive, fact-based drama (Lorenzo's Oil) and family-friendly frolics (Babe, which Miller scripted; its sequel, Babe: Pig in the City, which he directed; and the Happy Feet movies).

Miller brings his penchant for the surreal, the grotesque and the visually extravagant to bear on Three Thousand Years of Longing. He has reunited with his Fury Road cinematographer John Seale, plus that film's composer, Tom Holkenborg, to realise this phantasmagorical story of being careful what one wishes for.


4. Is Three Thousand Years of Longing based on an existing story?

Yes, Three Thousand Years of Longing is a feature-length expansion of A.S. Byatt's short story 'The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye.' The title of the story acted as the title of Byatt's 1994 collection of folk tales, which was met with critical acclaim.


5. When is Three Thousand Years of Longing released at Cineworld?

Three Thousand Years of Longing is released at Cineworld on September 2nd.