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Desert Wind

by
Larbi Benchiha

2009 / 52 minutes / Production : 24 images, TV Rennes / Broadcasting : France 3 Corse


In 1960, in the north of Algeria, war was rampant. But 2000 kms from the battlefield, another project was emerging from within the sands of the Sahara. In the eyes of General De Gaulle, this project was to be more important than the war itself. In the Hoggar, officers and scientists installed the first French centre of nuclear experimentation. Apart from these scientists and military men whose careers had already reached a peak, a contingent of soldiers and the local population were also asked to contribute to the realisation of this gigantic project.

On the 13th of February, 1961, at 07h04, France entered the privileged club of nuclear powers in the world.

This film narrates a history that existed and that even today, continues to affect the daily lives of families both in France and in Algeria. It is also a great ambition to allow soldiers of the contingents, the military officers and the Touareg nomads to say the untellable. To make them travel back in time through facts and recollections, through dreams and lies, feelings and reflections, but each in their own way, according to their personal experiences. They describe what they lived and saw in their words, with the help of their memories which have survived and resisted through time and erosion. Their photos, films, souvenirs and lives in the Sahara are elements that helped to take a look at their past, which is also ours. They help us to analyse and rewrite it.