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France, 2002 (MIFF 2003, International Panorama)

Director: Raymond Depardon

In Official Selection at the Venice and Rotterdam Film Festivals, this visually splendid film from Magnum Agency photographer and filmmaker Raymond Depardon, is highlighted by stunning black-and-white imagery. Based upon a novel by Diego Brosset, the film recounts the story of Alifa, one of the last free men living in the Sahara at the beginning of the 20th century, who, adopted by hunters, became a feared and famous guide.

Depardon's film is a mesmerising journey back in time, when colonisation gripped North Africa. Westerners were new to the region and raids were frequent and often very violent. Novelist Brosset, who was an officer in the French colonial army, was so moved by his encounter with the desert that he wrote his influential novel based on his experiences.

Shooting on location, Depardon's beautifully composed images are complemented by his astute eye for detail and language, as he lovingly recreates the world of Saharan nomadic tribes.

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