In keeping with its subtitle, the middle section of Miguel Gomes's monumental yet light-footed magnum opus shifts into a more subdued and melancholic register. But within each of these three tales, framed as the wild imaginings of the Arabian queen Scheherazade and adapted from recent real-life events in Portugal, there are surprises and digressions aplenty. In the first, a deadpan neo-Western of sorts, an escaped murderer becomes a local hero for dodging the authorities. The second deals with the theft of 13 cows, as told through a Brechtian open-air courtroom drama in which the testimonies become increasingly absurd. Finally, a Maltese poodle shuttles between various owners in a tear-jerking collective portrait of a tower block's morose residents. Attesting to the power of fiction to generate its own reality, the film treats its fantasy dimension as a license for directness, a path to a more meaningful truth.