|Index||6 reviews in total|
12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Fascinating journey across the Sahara, 29 April 2003
Author: alkinsey1982 from United Kingdom
It's hard to imagine that there are any places Michael Palin hasn't
visited yet, but this has all the interest of any of his previous travel
This time the intrepid adventurer sets out to tackle the Sahara desert, and meets many interesting people along the way. The scenes are bright and full of life, and Michael Palin is as enthusiastic as ever before, and his inimitable humour and informative commentary is simply irresistable.
This time Palin encounters people in countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, (where he explains that he was once crucified - a referance to a filming location from "The Life of Brian") and Mauritania. He even witnesses a part of the Paris - Dakha rally.
The mixture of cultures is incredible to see, with considerable educational value, and some are almost entirely isolated from the outside world. Others follow slightly more western ways, but each is beautifully unique, and a pleasure to see.
Personally, I am eagerly anticipating a new journey for the brilliant Michael Palin. Outstanding entertainment.
11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
A sumptuous Saharan odyssey, 29 June 2003
Author: frankiehudson from UK
This is a brilliant, exceptional piece of travel film-making and the sort
you would expect from the very likeable and interesting Michael
He lands in Tangiers and from there sets out to cover the whole of the Sahara region, travelling from west to east - typical Michael Palin material, really. This encompasses a series of train, car and river journeys all excellently shown with some very good cinematography. Lots of wide vistas of deserts - along the lines of Lawrence of Arabia and the English Patient, etc. - and lots of town scenes and interviews with musicians, traders, and others.
There's a lot of ethnic music in the programme too (particularly episode 2) which reminds me of Buena Vista Social Club, only this time it's Africa.
The 2 disc DVD is good though with very few additional features. It would've been nice to have some stuff on how they film the series - for instance, Michael Palin is often shown departing on a train yet where do the film crew go? Do they follow in a car or what?
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Nicely low key, 18 April 2006
Author: Cathryn Mataga (cathryn) from Berkeley, California. USA
Why can't American TV make shows like this? Michael Palin traps around
the Sahara, always charming, never condescending and always fun to
watch. He floats gently from 'moderately amused' to 'mildly irritated'
as the train is 10 hours late, but he never stays down too long. Palin
seems genuinely at peace with the strangeness of these places, and goes
to learn, and not to fix anything, which is so refreshing. The show
lightly touches on the Polisario/Morocco Western Sahara conflict, but
doesn't stay there too long.
Nice to see Muslim countries on TV, away from the whole 'terrorism, Al Qaeda, whatever' debate. Quite a few discussions on the Polygamy issue -- which looks like a way to stir up a lively opinion from women in that part of the world.
Small warning: 'where meat comes from' is revealed in this show. In case you are trying to keep the kids ignorant of this.
9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Lively and colourful series presented perfectly by Palin, 20 October 2002
Author: smiths-4 from United Kingdom
I have just viewed the second episode of this wonderful exploration of the massive desert. As i speak its raining outside but for the moment i have been transported to Africa and are wallowing in its colourful and friendly atmosphere. Congratulations to Palin for another brilliant travel series!
7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
So close (to Europe) and yet so unknown, 2 February 2006
Author: Rennie Petersen from Copenhagen, Denmark
"Sahara" is a travelogue made for the BBC in 2001. Michael Palin and a
camera crew traveled around the Sahara Desert and recorded their
experiences. This resulted in four one-hour episodes that were shown on
TV, and are now available on DVD.
The trip started at Gibraltar and went all the way around, and sometimes into, the Sahara Desert, through Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria again, Ceuta, and back to Gibraltar. Some of these countries are huge, for example, Algeria is four times the size of France or three times the size of Texas. The Sahara Desert is roughly the same size as the United States, and the trip covered 10,000 miles and took three months.
The Sahara Desert is so close to well-known Europe (just on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea) and is yet almost totally unknown to most of us in the West. In "Sahara" this veil of ignorance is lifted.
All of the Michael Palin travelogue programs feature his wit and charm and exuberance, and "Sahara" is no exception. It was a very impressive trip, with many special Palin-style encounters with interesting people. And, of course, beautiful pictures from the desert and the picturesque ancient cities like Fez and Timbuktu.
Still, I'm giving only eight points to "Sahara" instead of the ten points I've given to most of the other Michael Palin travelogue programs.
My reduced enthusiasm for "Sahara" is related to the fact that most of the countries he visited this time are ones that represent many problems. Heat, drought, poverty, begging, sickness, cultures in decline, refusal to accept the modern world, political instability, even barbaric traditions (female circumcision).
These are not countries that I feel much desire to visit myself, and this reduces my interest in the program. It is occasionally evident that Michael Palin was not all that happy with things himself, and this is also a negative factor.
Another negative factor is that the trip is presented in a somewhat disjoint manner at times. The trip was simply too much for the time allotted, so parts are skipped and we jump from one place to another. (The associated book does a much better job of covering the entire trip.)
I also felt that some of the things included in the program were very special and not really representative of the area, for example the Paris - Dakar rally, the British WW II veterans' reunion in Libya and the flash-backs to the filming of "Life of Brian" in Tunisia.
The DVD version of this program is on two discs. In addition to the four one-hour episodes there is the following extra material:
- Interview with Michael Palin (16 min.) - very good
- Deleted scenes (30 min.) - very good, some very funny bits
- Video diary (25 min.) - not so interesting
As Michael Palin says himself, "With the wonders of DVD we can show you and bore you rigid with things that didn't actually make the final cut."
Conclusion: Not as good as the best of the Michael Palin travelogues, but still very good.
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Fascinating..., 30 June 2003
Author: bigsleepj from Captain Nemo's Submarine
The first episode was tremendously boring. It's enough to make you fall
asleep. Not so with the others. The deeper Palin goes into the Sahara, the
more fascinating it gets.
Keep with it! It's a monstrously well-made series. And Micheal Palin is an added bonus.
The episode where he goes to Tunisia, Liberia and Algeria is the best one of all. He shows where he (and the Monty Python-gang) shot "Monty Python: Life of Brian" which is not really my favorite Python Movie, but seeing where they shot it is an education.
Enjoy the series!
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