This is a straight on, not always edifying biography of Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916), the French explorer of North Africa, who became a hermit in the Sahara. The film of 1936 was re-edited in 1996 in 'Les Grands Classiques'. The direction is good. Poirier's work witnesses of his fondness of an aesthetic to which he has remained faithful in a lot of his films, but that became rather a receipt than a style. The first half of the film, de Foucauld's youth and military career, is more theater than film., although some of his searches for plastics have nice results, and his humor and sarcasm are estimable. He pictures well the ridicule of the nobility he belonged to. When de Foucauld discovers the immense silence of the desert, it becomes serious, and we enter a world of transcendence with an exotic taste. In his extraordinary trip, we can follow his climb to mystic heights, that alas! ends in his assassination near Tamanrasset. Worth seeing.
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