The Dove's Lost NecklaceThough not necessarily tied directly (at least in any way that I can tell) to Wanderers of the Desert (the previous entry in the Desert Trilogy), The Dove’s Lost Necklace serves as part two of poet/director Nacer Khemir’s highly acclaimed series of desert films, culminating recently with the soon-to-be-released-stateside Bab’Aziz. Where Wanderers of the Desert centered around a small, isolated town where mythical occurences (including a man living in a well, an ancient ship appearing in the desert, and a group of wanderers), The Dove’s Lost Necklace takes place in a more realistic (at least ostensibly) location. The story centers around a young calligrapher named Hassan and his young friend Zein.

Where the theme of the first film was transitory and hard to follow, this one is abundantly clear: it’s all about love. Hassan is searching for and attempting to document and memorize the 60 words in Arabic that mean “love.” The younger Zein works as a go-between for lovers who wish to communicate with their female counterparts, delivering messages and gifts to those who are not able to meet. But when Hassan comes across a fragment of a book that is said to be “poisoned,” he becomes enchanted with the story of the search of rPrincess Samarkand and seeks out the rest of the book from which the pages were torn. This leads him on a (relatively) epic journey across the desert, where he meets a mysterious young woman.

Much like the first film, there are many plotlines happening at once, and none are simple to follow. Young Zein is waiting for his father (who he was told is a genie) to return to the city and claim him. He’s also waiting for his monkey friend, who is claimed to be a prince, to be returned to his true form. Hassan’s master makes much of a long-distance Chess game and an assignment to write out the Koran for a prince who subsequently passes on.

There are many beautiful images in the film, including a white horse with its bottom half painted orange and a few night-time shots of the moon that are quite stirring. Again Khemir seems to have bitten off a bit more than he can chew in conveying his message, though. (Or perhaps it just feels that way to a typical western viewer). The ultimate outcome of the film is relatively muddled, though it’s still quite fun getting there.

Zach’s Rating: B
Perfect For: Those looking for a hint of mysticism and myth
Stay Away if: Imagery alone doesn’t do it for you

To purchase The Dove’s Lost Necklace, visit Amazon

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