Set in 1798, at the time of Napoleon's failed attempts to conquer Egypt, this blazingly ridiculous yarn (from a Balzac novella) follows French soldier Augustin (Daniels), a rational child of the Enlightenment who views Egypt as little more than physical geography, and Venture (Piccoli), a romantic artist and scholar who's been commissioned to record the country's monuments and terrain. When they're separated from their platoon and get lost in the desert, things look rocky for the unlikely heroes. Dehydrated and delirious, Augustin searches for aid, his path crossing with that of a wild leopard who leads him to a pool. While the meditative, sober pace and uncluttered visual aesthetic reflect first time film-maker Currier's uncompromising vision, the awkward dialogue and two-dimensional characterisation render the film little more than a silly schoolboy adventure, hankering for the 'glory' days of the Empire.
Cast and crew
Lavinia Currier, Martin Edmunds