Tunisian desert beckons

KATHMANDU: Once every month, the Kathmandu Film Society (KFS) screens a foreign movie at the Nepal Tourism Board, Bhrikutimandap at a nominal price. The society’s aim is to promote the film culture among the people of Kathmandu and to expose them to good foreign films.

The KFS will be screening Les Baliseurs du desert (Wanderers of the desert) on October 22, which is a film by one of the best known African (Tunisia) filmmakers of this era Nacer Khemir.

A teacher settles in a village in the desert of south-Tunisia and undertakes children who never have been to a school. An immense task at the time of its mission, it meets with love. The new experience brings him in contact with the wild nature that will become an inner journey to the centre of the enigmas of existence.

Khemir is a man of the desert like the teacher he plays in his first film. Sometimes directors try to make films about invisible objects: about the wind, or love; Khemir has tried to do this with the desert. The desert, love, the wind have no dimensions. Poor human creatures need things that filmmakers are unable to bring to the screen. Yet Khemir gives us an idea of the desert: it is not a void, it is a place without authority, without nationality, endless. The film brings the Arabic culture stirring it with a more Western eye.

Les Baliseurs du desert is said to be one of the more evocative films of the new North African cinema.

Says KFS president Rajesh Gongaju, “Our aim is to bring good foreign films and expose the local residents of Kathmandu to such films. The expartriates and people from diplomatic missions come for the screenings, but we’d like to encourage more local participation.”

The screening is at 5:30 pm.