9 user 19 critic

Sounds of Sand (2006)

Si le vent soulève les sables (original title)
On the one hand, there's the desert eating away at the land. The endless dry season, the lack of water. On the other there's the threat of war. The village well has run dry. The livestock ... See full summary »


Marion Hänsel


Marc Durin-Valois (novel), Marion Hänsel (screenplay)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Issaka Sawadogo ... Rahne (as Isaka Sawadogo)
Asma Nouman Aden Asma Nouman Aden ... Shasha
Carole Karemera Carole Karemera ... Mouna
Saïd Abdallah Mohamed Saïd Abdallah Mohamed ... Ako
Ahmed Ibrahim Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim Mohamed ... Ravil
Moussa Assan Moussa Assan ... Janja
Emile Abossolo M'bo ... Lassong
Saïd Omar Aden Saïd Omar Aden ... Assombo
Assia Aden Mohamed Assia Aden Mohamed ... Salimah
Amina Aden Mohamed Amina Aden Mohamed ... Bébé de Salimah
Marco Prince Marco Prince ... Officier Armée Bleue
Osman Elabeh Egueh Osman Elabeh Egueh ... Dukka
Roger Gleyse Roger Gleyse ... Militaire Armée Bleue
Kadir Ismael Elmi Kadir Ismael Elmi ... Chauffeur Jeep
Omar Mohamoud Hassan Omar Mohamoud Hassan ... Soldat Lassong 1


On the one hand, there's the desert eating away at the land. The endless dry season, the lack of water. On the other there's the threat of war. The village well has run dry. The livestock is dying. Trusting their instinct, most of the villagers leave and head south. Rahne, the only literate one, decides to head east with his three children and Mouna, his wife. A few sheep, some goats and Chamelle, a dromedary, are their only riches. A tale of exodus, quest, hope and fatality. Rahne and his family travel across hostile lands under a lethal sun, walking endlessly onwards and frequently crossing paths with death. But "Sounds of sand" is also a parable about determination and eternity that takes us in the footsteps of Shasha, a nomad child full of the joys of life, whose tenacity and strength will conquer her father's love. Written by Marion Hänsel

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User Reviews

Pluses and minuses (see below)
4 April 2007 | by Chris KnippSee all my reviews

POSITIVE REVIEW: Adapted from Marc Durin-Valois' prize-winning novel Chamelle by Belgian director Hänsel, this is the beautiful and moving saga of a little family somewhere in Africa forced to leave home and struggle eastward across the desert with their livestock in search of water. Along the way they endure great loss, danger, cruelty, and heartbreak. This film dramatizes many of the demographic and human problems that face the African continent: drought, revolution, lawlessness, poverty. Hänsel's powerful visual storytelling makes all these things real to us, while bringing alive the drama of human beings. Images are striking, and so are the people, and all the actors are fine, particularly the father Rahn e played by Isaka Sawadogo and his little daughter Shasha played by Asma Nouman Aden. Music is used deftly and economically. This is committed narrative film-making at its best. It brings home major issues but never seems preachy or doctrinaire. At the end, what remains of the family winds up in a UN camp. "This is my Pouzzi," says Sasha, using her pet name for her father. "He looks sad because he has lost his camel." The viewer will remember a series of striking, pathetic tableaux. A heartrending and vividly told tale.

NEGATIVE REVIEW: Shot in Djibouti, Hänsel's film attempts to be universal by being unspecific in locale and by casting the dialogue by all and sundry entirely in rather academic French. Everything is generic and sanitized. If the family is desperately short of water, how come they have full wardrobes of immaculately clean clothes and are perfectly clean themselves? At the outset Rahne meets another man who says they should travel together because it's safer that way. "Yes," Rahne says, "we will travel together. We will leave before dawn to take advantage of the coolness." It's stilted elementary primer language. Even religious phrases that sound Muslim, like "God wishes it so," are said in French, when likely they would be said in Arabic. A bunch of wild looking outlaws speak the same academic French. An online viewer wrote that this is "a romanticized film made by a middle aged western woman aimed at...middle aged western women" and added, "naturally in the end the main characters get saved by white people from the West." And this is true. Hänsel uses the authentic setting and real-looking African actors to make us naive westerners believe that we're watching something real, but it's a downbeat fairy tale, none of which is true to a specific and coherent whole. Sawadogo, by the way, has lived in Norway for the last fifteen years.

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Belgium | France



Release Date:

21 March 2007 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

Sounds of Sand See more »


Box Office


EUR2,700,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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