Asshak, Tales from the Sahara

  • 110'
  • Switzerland
  • 2004
Following the success of her first feature length film The Saltmen of Tibet, Ulrike Koch takes the Tuareg nomads as her subject. One man's search for his lost camel becomes the narrative thread around which she weaves the film. The Tuareg, Noehi, travels through different landscapes, meets different characters (a Marabout at his hidden mosque, a young girl awakening to become a Targia, a radiant and strong Turaeg woman). His journey is also used to evoke the Tuareg myth of a city of wonders beyond the dunes, and in his sleep he dreams of the animals that once lived in the desert and have now disappeared.Asshak explores and celebrates a culture that is still mysterious to us, it is about a people who preserve their way of living in a barren place, a people that sustain high ethical and aesthetic standards with a minimum of material culture. The details of their lives are shown without comment: the rituals of leaving adolescence, the telling of ancient stories, the singing of songs, the habits of daily existence. Ulrike Koch does so by coming close to these people in filming and, as with The Saltmen of Tibet, using their words and their world to create a sort of fable. A fable that is told in stunning images and resonant incidents. [S.F.]
Ulrike Koch
International premiere
Countries of production
Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2004
Original title
Ässhäk, Geschichte aus der Sahara
Catpics AG, Neue Pegasos, Artcam The Netherlands
Catpics AG
Ulrike Koch
Local Distributor
Contact Film