fbpx Biennale Cinema 2017 | Nacer Khemir - Les baliseurs du désert / El-haimoune (Wanderers of the Desert)
La Biennale di Venezia

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Nacer Khemir - Les baliseurs du désert / El-haimoune (Wanderers of the Desert)

  • At
  • Sala Volpi
  • Admission with coupon to be booked online

Tunisie, France (1984) / 95’
language Arabic
cast Nacer Khemir, Hédi Daoud, Sonia Ichti, Hassen Khalsi, Noureddine Kasbaoui, Soufiane Makni, Jamila Ourabi, Mohsen Zazaa
screenplay Nacer Khemir
cinemtaographer Georges Barsky
editor Moufida Tlatli
production designer Robert Narbonne, Arno Heins
costume designer Maud Perl
music Fethi Zgonda
sound Faouzi Thabet
restoration curated by Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique
film laboratory Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique



A young teacher is sent to an isolated village in the Tunisian desert, but instead of devoting himself to teaching the man vanishes in pursuit of enigmas, losing himself in the space and time of the fables and legends of ancient Arab culture. The man falls in love with the local sheikh’s daughter and lets himself be carried away by this world of sand and the Andalusian songs of the baliseurs: wanderers of the desert who spring from the sand and disappear into the sand, tracing an invisible line of separation between reality and dream. In this film magic and reality are blended to celebrate the beauty of the desert.


The first film directed by the storyteller, illustrator and poet Nacer Khemir takes an oral legend as its starting point and turns it into a complex allegory. The director lines up mysteries, deceptions and questions without giving answers, but controls his labyrinthine tale with an unobtrusive incantatory skill, favoring the problem of time over that of space. Plain, bare and elliptical, the Tunisian’s directorial debut pays tribute to the splendor of Arab culture through a studied and painterly composition of the shots and sequences and a screenwriting steeped in poetry.


PRODUCTION: Cinématheque Royale de Belgique
rue Ravenstein 3
1000 Brussels – Belgium
Tel. +32(0)2 627 16 70/78

PRODUCTION WHEN THE FILM WAS MADE: Latif Productions-Satpec, Tunis; France Média s.a., Paris

RESTORATION BY: Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique

WORLD SALES: Cinématheque Royale de Belgique
rue Ravenstein 3
1000 Bruxelles – Belgium
Tel. +32(0)2 627 16 70/78

Sala Volpi

TEL. +39 0415218711

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Biennale Cinema
Biennale Cinema