I came across the movie, The Sheltering Sky, by accident while digging around the internet and searching for “movies filmed in North Africa”. It stars Debra Winger and John Malkovich, its a chick-flick but a well-made chick-flick (which means I have to admit I liked parts of it) and the cinematography is excellent. It’s set just after WWII and the Director Bernardo Bertolucci did a great job capturing that period. Visually it is stunning. Filmed on location the movie portrays the desert beautifully. It appears part of the movie was filmed in the Taghit and Beni Abbes areas of Algeria which is close to the Great Western Sand Sea and the Zousfana River which appears often in scenes of this movie. This is the area I mentioned in my previous post on El-Moungar and where the Foreign Legion operated in force and maintained several Beau Geste type forts along the border. Late in the movie, Malkovich falls ill and his wife (Winger) struggles to find medical assistance from the unresponsive populace. Eventually she gets him to a French military fort where a Foreign Legion doctor tries to help him. As she moves around the fort and in other scenes we catch glimpses of the fort. I cannot figure out where this scene was filmed at but I’m sure it was Beni Abbes because of the scenes showing the huge orange sand dunes and the large bend in the river. It appears very authentic–I’m sure it was an actual French fort at one time–it does not have the look of a native ksar or bordj. I just wish they filmed it from more angles. I can’t seem to find such a structure like this using Google Earth in Beni Abbes.
But anyway, here are some of those screen captures of the fort.