A French company is building a tarmac road in the desert of Chad. The French managers, their African co-workers and drivers, kitchen and cleaning staff live in three different camps during construction. The building site attracts local villagers looking for work. Nomads also pass through the scrubland with their herds.
A road to nowhere, one might think, given the sheer vastness of the desert landscape. But the question here is not where the road leads to but rather the advantages and disadvantages it will bring. To what extent will the road project change the lives of the population? What is it like to live and work on the building site? What is life like in a village? The film chooses its images with great care, drawing on precise camera observations and statements made by the workers and local inhabitants, as the desert is revealed to be a habitat, the construction site a sociotope and the barrack settlement a society based on class – entirely different daily realities and living standards right next to one another. Progress turns out to be an ambivalent category here. By avoiding judgement or a voiceover commentary, a complex local topography emerges by purely cinematic means.
France 2012, 117 min
© Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin