Winner! Special Jury Prize
- Locarno International Film Festival
"A delightful fairytale; straight out of 1001 Nights" - FilmFest DC
This second feature in Nacer Khemir's Desert Trilogy is a visually ravishing folktale reminiscent of "The Thousand and One Nights." The story revolves around Hassan, who is studying Arabic calligraphy from a grand master. Coming across a fragment of manuscript, Hassan goes in search of the missing pieces, believing that once he finds them, he will learn the secrets of love. With the help of Zin, a lovers’ go-between, he meets the beautiful Aziz, Princess of Samarkand. After encountering wars, a battle between false prophets and an ancient curse, he learns that an entire lifetime would not suffice for him to learn the many dimensions of love.
Tunisian director Nacer Khemir, also a poet, painter and professional storyteller, notes: "The film takes place in Moslem Andalusia of the 11th century. But it’s not a question of reconstituting a given time and place, but rather of summoning up the reflection of a forgotten garden, and out of a yearning for peace, so difficult to protect from barbarians and from destructive fanaticisms. Andalusia has been the meeting place of many cultures, a living dialog of the peoples and religions whose traces can still be deciphered in texts, music and gardens all the way from the Atlantic to the Red Sea. This is not an Andalusian love story, but Andalusia as the very essence of love, through its perfumes, poetry and gardens."