The Devil of the Desert

Shaytan al-Sahra

85 mins
5.6 / 10 (95)


Essam is a young bedouin who discovers the tyranny of his tribe’s ruler and decides to overthrow him. He sneaks into the royal court, gains the king’s trust and becomes his consultant. A gypsy falls in love with him but discovers he is in love with another woman and exposes him to the king.

MUBI's take

In Youssef Chahine’s first action spectacle, Orientalist tropes found in Hollywood adventure films are simultaneously adapted and subverted, resulting an anticolonial decrying of tyranny. Omar Sharif’s dashing vigilante embodies a new kind of screen masculinity, pairing heroism with sensuality.

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