It’s 1860 and the Algerian Sahara is coveted by the colonial powers of the time, who dream of it as a rich land full of promise.
Expeditions and ambitions of conquest, however, have all been destroyed by this uncharted and mysterious terrain. Nevertheless, there are men who rise above turf wars, and who believe in the power of this mystical land to establish a society that is out of the ordinary. They christen the place le fort des fous, or "Madmen’s Fort".
An extraordinary mix of people, a new population that forms from multiple passages of men and women, pets and wild animals, carried by endless roads: the salt road, dreams of a Trans-Saharan railroad, and the farthest trades. They come up from black Africa or descend from Europe; they have traversed the world all the way from Asia. They are officers, nomads, Turks, escaped women, abandoned slaves, and tired merchants. Gradually, the fort has become the anchor of a utopian society. One of the residents continuously photographs and collects information on the society, unwittingly building up a wealth of knowledge that the colonialists and the countries with the ambition to rule the commercial routes dearly miss. In one night the fort plunges into tragedy.
Locarno International Film festival 2017, Cineasti del presente
Key festivals and awards
Documenta 14 2017; Locarno International Film Festival 2017; Toronto International Film Festival 2017; BFI London Film Festival 2017; New York International Film Festival 2017; Thessaloniki International Film Festival 2017
Director: Narimane Mari
Producers : Allers Retours Films (Algeria), Joon Film (Germany)
German WCF Partner: Joon Film
World sales: tbc
Funded in the WCF Jury meeting in July 2015
Funding amount: 40,000 €