About the Film
A young teacher is sent to a new job at a village school in the middle of nowhere in the Tunisian desert. What happens after he arrives is a blend of myth and reality. He falls in love and allows himself to be carried away by the world of sand and the songs of the wanderers of the desert who spring from the sand and fade into the sand. Released in 1984, El-Haimoune (Wanderers of the Desert) is the first in a trilogy of
movies by director Nacer Khemir set in the expanse of the Tunisian desert. It garnered international acclaim and was awarded the Grand Prix at the Festival des Trois Continents. The second and the third parts of the trilogy are Le Collier Perdu de la Colombe (1991) and Bab'Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul (2005). In The three films of this trilogy, the desert is a character in itself.
Speaking about his work, the director quotes a beautiful Tuareg proverb that says: “There are lands that are full of water for the well-being of the body, and lands that are full of sand for the well-being of the soul.”
Nacer Khemir, born in Tunisia in 1948, is a director, storyteller, writer and illustrator. In 1966, he received a grant from UNESCO to study film in Paris. A lover and connoisseur of classical Arab culture, in
1972 he paid a visit to the Medina of Tunis to meet its storytellers and collect accounts of their lives. This experience was to influence all of his subsequent work. Khemir showed his works as a painter, sculptor and calligrapher at the Centre Georges Pompidou in 1980 and the Montreuil Children’s Book Fair. In 1982 and 1988 he staged productions at the Théatre National de Chaillot of the One Thousand and One Nights, which had fascinated him since childhood.