A burning sun and lack of water ravage the Sahara. War looms. When the situation becomes life threatening, the village teacher Rahne decides to set off with his family and his cattle looking for more fertile land in the south. The journey is long and dangerous and may involve losing more than if he had stayed at home.
Rahne and his wife Mouna mainly face hostility on their way. They are forced to give one of their sons to guerrilla fighters. Their other son is killed. Their goats can’t keep moving when there is no sign of water for days on end. Mouna falls severely ill. Throughout all their trials, the teacher and his vivacious young daughter, whose arrival had not previously made him happy, grow closer together. Hope lies in their simple yet genuine overtures.
Yet the emotions largely remain under the surface in lively yet calmly shot scenes that contribute to our realisation of the resilience and perseverance of the characters. At the same time they give the film an aura of merciless intransigence. Anyone wanting to survive in the desert cannot succumb to the day’s delusions. The road is too inaccessible, long and unpredictable. (SdH)