Of all the pages here on Candlelight Stories, the page devoted to the tales of the Arabian Nights is the single most popular. I love to post about these fantastic and free-wheeling adventures. Here’s a wonderful BBC documentary that communicates not only the far-flung and enduring history of the tales, but also the wild sense of imagination allowed to roam freely. Reading the Arabian Nights gives one a sense of how brilliant, winding, layered and abandoned literature can be.
It contains the following stories:
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
The Story of the Wicked Half Brothers
The Story of the Princess of Deryabar
The Story of the Magic Horse
The Fisherman and the Genie
The Story of the King of the Ebony Isles
The History of Badoura, Princess of China, and of Camaralzaman, the Island Prince
The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor
Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
Look what I found! A YouTube user named Naim2212Z made this film about Scheherazade from the 1001 Arabian Nights. I believe he made it at the New York Film Academy’s location in Abu Dhabi. It’s good. The filmmaker takes his HD camera, some colorful costumes and settings and makes something that really does capture the spirit of the Arabian Nights stories. I like all the candles on the mantle and the big rug. I also like the choice to make a silent film with a voice-over telling the story. It reminds me of a very sharp colorful silent film. Very nice work telling the tale.
Here’s a Discovery Channel documentary about the Arabian Nights stories. I’m always looking for a nice illustrated version of the stories and film adaptations that capture the wild fun of the insane storytelling and loopy moralizing. When you read them you get a sense of the sheer joy of telling a story like you get it from nowhere else. These stories are full of color and description that defies all reason. They make you want to dive into the sea of adventure stories and live in Technicolor. What I like about this documentary is that it works enactments of some of the tales into the discussion of their history and influence on world literature and Middle Eastern culture.
Candlelight has a nice pile of Arabian Nights stuff here, including some audio stories.
This is part 1 of 8: