In Italy, the gambler and professor of poetry Daniele Dominici arrives in the seaside town of Rimini and is hired to teach for four months in the Liceu replacing another teacher. His ... See full summary »
Summer, 1943: wealthy youth in the Riccione district of Rimini play while the war gets closer. Carlo Caremoli, a young man who follows the crowd, has found ways to avoid military service. ... See full summary »
Henri, the Man from Nantes, comes back to his country after a successful stay in the United States, where he was working for Liski, the drug dealer. With the fame of being a tough guy ... See full summary »
Fabrice del Dongo, a young archbishop, gives his all to romance rather than to the Church, creating complications for everyone around. The Countess of San Severina, is but one of the women ... See full summary »
1945. Enrico Corsi, in Rome, reflects on his relationship with his eight year younger brother, Lorenzo Corsi, following Lorenzo's recent passing from a long and debilitating illness at age ... See full summary »
A detective (inspector Rogas) is assigned to investigate the mysterious murders of some Supreme Court judges. During the investigation he discovers a complot that involves the Italian ... See full summary »
Bulgaria near the end of World War I: Conan, warrior and wolf, leads a band of 50 ruthless French fighters who love hand-to-hand combat. Their motto: "We forgot to take prisoners, Captain."... See full summary »
Samuel Le Bihan,
Bernard Le Coq
As his first assignment, lieutenant Drogo is sent to an isolated fortress on the borders of a desert and of a range of high mountains. The mission of the garrison is to prevent a possible incursion by the fearsome Tartars, coming from beyond the desert. Some fellow officers are eagerly awaiting an attack; some no longer want to believe in it; others take advantage of the vague threat to further their career. All of them are sacrificing everything -- health, youth, friends, family -- for a distant military ideal: leading the defence against the onslaught of the enemy. But in the vast emptiness surrounding the fortress, nobody has ever sighted the Tartars... Written by
Eduardo Casais <email@example.com>
In West Germany and other countries the film was released under titles which mean translated back "The Desert of the Tatars". Obviously the editors in these countries missed that the original title does not refer to the actual Tatarian people but to the ancient Greek-Roman mythological "Tartars" (from the ancient Greek word "tartaros"). So "Tartars" in this context is not an outdated spelling of "Tatars", but an intended metaphor referring to the historical idea, that there are a people "coming from hell". See more »
Very little happens in Valerio Zurlini's The Desert of the Tartars two-and-a-half hours, which is exactly the point, as Jacques Perrin's initially ambitious young officer is posted to a magnificent desert fort overlooking the spectacular ruins of an ancient city on a non-existent border where soldiers wait endlessly for a possibly imagined enemy to give a sense of focus and purpose to their lives. Yet the Tartars remain the stuff of rumours and legends, the visually striking fort (Arge-E-Bam in Iran) a quietly malignant place, its very walls infested with an unidentifiable disease that slowly destroys its inhabitants. Yes, we're in allegory territory here, with the human condition distilled down to waiting and planning for a moment that may never happen, with all the malaise that entails, and it's a film you're either going to be drawn into or find two-and-a-half hours of pure tedium. One of the few films to show how cold and inhospitable the desert can be, there are vague similarities to the considerably less successful Fort Saganne in the way it undermines the expectations of a Beau Geste-like adventure in favour of the malaise and unrealised expectation that was really the stuff of a career-killing desert posting. With an impressively varied international cast Max Von Sydow, Phillipe Noiret, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Helmut Griem and Fernando Rey among them and boasting fine cinematography by Luciano Tovoli, it's not for all tastes but it certainly casts a spell on those it ensnares.
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