French civilization in the desert. Saganne is of peasant stock, with courage and a forceful will. In 1911, he volunteers and is posted to the Sahara under the aristocratic Colonel Dubreuilh...
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French civilization in the desert. Saganne is of peasant stock, with courage and a forceful will. In 1911, he volunteers and is posted to the Sahara under the aristocratic Colonel Dubreuilh. He catches the eye of Madeline, the daughter of the regional administrator. In the desert, Saganne is a leader, with the respect of Arabs, including Amajan, an independent warrior. After resourceful campaigns, Saganne goes on a diplomatic mission to Paris, where he has an affair with a journalist. Back in Africa, he leads a gallant defense against Sultan Omar, is awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, and marries Madeline. Then the Great War puts at risk his success and happiness.Written by
The problem with this film is that nothing is left for the viewer to assume, deduce, or imagine. Everything which one might need to know in order to understand the full narrative is shown, in detail - and the audience doesn't need that: as a result the film lasts .... what? two and a half hours? .... at least half an hour of which is certainly dead matter. There are some very impressive incidents, but the impact is muffled. I can't help feeling too, that, given that Corneau seems to want to make the most of his setting and given what that setting is, even the photography represents a wasted opportunity. It's dramatic, but it could have stood you still. Imagination needed!
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