In 1936, in Mogador, a Moroccan coastal town under French colonial administration, twenty four year old Hélène, daughter of Judge Lenhart, feels stifled in the conformity of her situation even though she spends a great deal of time taking care of the ‘natives’.
At the officers’ ball, the garrison commander, Albert Forjat, declares he wants to marry her, but those hopes are dashed when Hélène meets Belkacem, a young merchant travelling between Timbuctoo and Mogador and a ‘native’ of the resistance.
Everything goes against Hélène and Belkacem.
Puritanical Catholicism on the one hand, rigorous militant Islam on the other, strikewith equal forces. But their passion, as sudden as it is violent prepares them for the obstacles of French society.
Hélène follows Belkacem to Zagora, where his family can only seetreason of the national cause in this love affair.
In the vastness of the Sahara, Hélène must cope with the difficult environment, a language barrier and multiple cultural differences…
Belkacem reacts to her frequent despondency by taking the risk of erecting a chapel which is consecrated by a priest from Mogador on Christmas Eve.
Forjat is promoted Commander in Chief of French troops in the southern region. He knows with certainty that Belkacem is financing a rebellion. He wants to get rid of him by forcing him to join the Foreign Legion as François Soudan and to thus eliminate all trace of him.
Belkacem is tortured by the choice he must make: should he shoot his weakened entrenched ‘brothers’ or seek escape to find his own people and his wife, Hélène, who has just given birth to their daughter, Khadija.
A challenge where heroism and passion are to be found…
BERNARD STORA – SOUHEIL BENBARKA
FRANCO CASAGNI -LEILA BEN BARKA
RICHARD HOROWITZ - SUSSAN DEYHIN
AMAL EL MAZOUNI
MOULAY A. BADRY
1.85 - Color
Souheil Benbarka’s career in film began in Rome in 1962 when, by pure chance, he was present at the filming of a scene from Federico Fellini’s 8½.
Four years later, coming first in the entrance examination, he gained a place at the Centre for Experimental Cinematography of Rome in the department of film direction. He became assistant to Pier Pasolini for Oedipus Rex a few months later.
In 1970, he set up in Morocco and from 1972 onwards produced and directed, more than two hundred promotional films, and eight full length films.
He has directed:
Claudia Cardinale - Harvey Keitel - Ugo Tognazzi - Max Von Sydow - Claude Rich - F. Murray Abraham - Fernando Rey - Marie Christine Barrault - Irène Papas - Laurent Terzieff - Angela Molina - Serghei Bondartchouk - Giancarlo Giannini - Massimo Ghini - Marisa Paradès - Miriam Makeba - Helmut Berger Florinda Bolkan - Violante Placido - Mimsy Farmer - Imanol Arias - Hassan Joundi –Rodolfo Sancho - Naima Lamcharki – Imanol Arias.