Three Thousand Years of Longing is Sort of Like Aladdin, But With Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton unknowingly picking up a genie in a bottle in the 'Three Thousand Years of Longing' tr...
Courtesy of IMDb

Just in time for the film’s world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, the first trailer for Three Thousand Years of Longing is finally here. Anticipation has been high ever since we learned that the director, George Miller of the Mad Max franchise, had secured not one, but two major casting coups: Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton. The latter plays Alithea, a self-described “solitary creature” with a red bob who has no parents, siblings, or children. Of course, she only stays solitary for so long before Elba enters the picture, specifically as a shapeshifting genie named Djinn.

Like the A. S. Byatt short story it’s based on, the fantasy romance film paints a vivid picture of Istanbul. Alithea is there on vacation, and before heading home, decides to pick up a memento at the Grand Bazaar. “I’m sure it has an interesting story,” she says, settling on an object that resembling a glass pipe. She was right: Back home, she’s in the midst of cleaning it with an electric toothbrush when it uncorks a hidden stopper, immediately engulfing the room in glittery smoke. She has barely a second to register what just happened before it zooms out the door in the shape of a gigantic foot.

Turns out, what Alithea actually purchased was a genie in a bottle. The foot belongs to Djinn, who’s huge to the point of almost bursting out of her hotel room before returning to normal human size. And, as genies do, he tells a wary Alithea that he’s there to grant her three wishes. “There’s no story about wishing that isn’t a cautionary tale,” she insists. From there, things get trippy; it seems like Djinn will do whatever it takes to grant Alithea’s deepest desires. Ahead of the film’s August 31 release, see for yourself below.