Desert Phantoms

Country

Czechoslovakia, Tunisia

Copyright

1982

Production year

1982

Premiere

26 November 1982

Runtime

105 min

Category

film

Genre

ballad

Typology

featuretheatrical distributionlong

Original title

Přeludy pouště

Czech title

Přeludy pouště

English title

Desert Phantoms

Parallel title

Sarâb

Working title

Balada o bezzemku Mehmedovi

Summary

Graduates of the international study programmes run by Prague film school FAMU have over the decades often taken part in co-production projects. This proved the case where Tunisian director Abdelhafidh Bouassida was concerned. In 1982, he created balladic romance Přeludy pouště (Desert Phantoms). The film, inspired by stories of the Orient, was a Tunisian co-production made with Prague’s Barrandov film studios and Czechoslovakia’s Krátký film (established as far back as 1957). The protagonist, the penurious young man Mamlúk (Yorgo Voyagis), saves the life of a mighty ruler. As a reward, the pauper simply asks for a plot of land on which he might farm with his family. The ruler promises Mamlúk all the land he can cover by foot in a single day. But acquisitive people around him force the young man on to a march of death. He loses everything, including, eventually, his own life… Besides the exotic narration, the main attraction of the film lies in the cast of Tunisian and Czech actors, who were joined by an international star of Greek origin, Irene Papas, who took the role of the hero’s mother.

Synopsis

The ruler of a country hunts a fox with his trained eagle amidst a sandy wasteland. On his return home, he and his horse tumble into a wolf trap. His life is saved by a poor young man named Mamlúk who is camping nearby with his mother. The ruler is very suspicious and takes the poor food only after it has been tasted by Mamlúk first. But Mamlúk is an honest man and he takes the saved man to the town in the morning. He refuses golden coins, just asking for a piece of land which could provide for his family. The ruler offers him a beautiful girl, a horse, a position of a guard commander or a tax collector, but the young man rejects everything. The ruler does not understand the poor man's conception of happiness and, only barely concealing that he takes it amiss, finally offers him all the land which Mamlúk can walk around from morning to sunset. The young man is accompanied by a vizier and black riders staking out the estate with spears with ribands. Mamlúk could get by with only a little bit of land but the vizier drives him further, claiming that such a small reward would offend the ruler. The news spreads and more and more villagers beg the young man to include them, too, in his territory. Mamlúk is running out of strength under the red-hot sun. He looks for his beloved Fatima on a farm, but in vain because the administrator has already sold her somewhere else. The time has gone by and the man, in order to come back in time, sets off across a lethal salt lake. He dreams about Fatima, about water, about being trapped and then saved by his mother – but he in fact lies in the middle of a desert, dying.

Cast

Bekim Fehmiu

Dubbing Karel Hlušička
vladař

Irene Papas

Dubbing Jaroslava Adamová
Mamlúkova matka

Jozef Kroner

Dubbing Jiří Holý
Sidi Ali

Ahmed Snoussi

Dubbing Petr Přívozník
Abdelmalak

Hassan Hermes

kovář Júsef

Ferhad Jedid

Ibrahím

Jiří Kulštrunk

sokolník

Mouna Noureddine

Fatima

Abdellatif Hamrouni

Dubbing Milan Mach
Hádí

Rachid Gara

Saláh Rahmouni

Mohamed Ben Othman

Abdellatif Khereddine

Mohiedine Mrad

Moncef Bel Hadj Yahia

Abdelmajid Lakhal

Fethi Saadallah

Tayeb Weslaty

Jamil Joudi

Mohsen Zaazaa

Salah Sghaier

Halima Daoud

Salah Miled

Hattab Dhib

Salem Touhami

Noureddine Kasbaoui

Commentary

Dubbing

Jan Kraus

hlas vesničana

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Mohamed Alí Okby

Assistant Director

Milan Kadlec, Irena Vachatová, Mounir Baazíz

Director of Photography

Jiří Macák

Second Unit Photography

Vladimír Smutný

Camera Operator

Jan Hanzal

Production Designer

Hassen Soufi

Set Designer

Jazzi Aderrazak, Claude Ghil‡me, Eva Slívová, Karel Vaňásek

Costume Designer

Theodor Pištěk ml.

Film Editor

Alois Fišárek

Sound Designer

Adolf Böhm

Stunts

Karel Brůha, Jiří Mayer, Petr Turek

Unit Production Manager

Hafidha Ouertani, Hamíd Elleuche, Vladimíra Kopecká, Jana Kejlová, Petr Junek, Věra Lukášová

Unit Production Manager

Eva Nováková, Helena Landovská

Cooperation

Ivana Malíková, Zdenek Sirový, Eva Pobjecká, Jiří Berger, S. Abdellah, K. Mamlouk, Jaroslav Trousil, Y. Lakhoua, S. Joulak, A. Ben Ali, H. Joulak, S. Maaroufi

Music

Music Composed by

Armando Trovajoli

Production info

Original Title

Přeludy pouště

Czech Title

Přeludy pouště

English Title

Desert Phantoms

Parallel Title

Sarâb

Working Title

Balada o bezzemku Mehmedovi

Category

film

Typology

featuretheatrical distribution

Genre

ballad

Origin country

Czechoslovakia, Tunisia

Copyright

1982

Production Year

1982

Production specifications

technical Screenplay approved 03/1981

Premiere

premiere 26 November 1982
gala premiere 15 December 1982 (kino Světozor, Praha)

Creative Group

Ota Hofman

Technical info

Duration typology

feature film

Duration in minutes

105 min

Original length in metres

2 659 meters

Distribution carrier

35mm

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 6. mezinárodní festival filmů pro děti a mládež Tomar

1985
Tomar / Portugal