L'Arche Du Desert review

A tale of race, modern passion and ancient biblical myths, Mohamed Chouikh's L'Arche Du Désert (Desert's Ark) is a violent exploration of inter-racial love and destructive enmity, and given that it's an Algerian/French/German co-production (filmed entirely in Algeria), the issue of multicultural clashes is well-handled.

Set in a desert oasis, Chouikh's tale begins with a forbidden cross-cultural relationship which leads to racial friction in the "Ark's" small society. But even though the need for it renders them equal, it eventually proves too much to handle. Whatever they think of each other, they all have to recognise the life-giving importance of water.

Writer/director Chouikh's skill balances human drama with an exploration of war, nationalism and intolerance, without a hint of contrivance or any loss of impact. The result is brutal, poetic and demands intense concentration - but rewards the effort.

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