Private Project

Desert Rose

In 1960, in Reggane, Algeria, Abbes witnesses his dog being taken by French soldiers heading towards the "Saharan Center for Military Experiments." Alone, without family support, Abbes sets out to retrieve his friend, unaware that it's the day of France's first nuclear test.

  • Oussama Benhassine
  • Oussama Benhassine
  • CADC Centre Algérien Du Développement du Cinéma
  • Meriem Ould Chiah
  • Slimane Benouari
    Key Cast
    "The prisoner"
    Abou Leila
  • Idir Benaibouche
    Key Cast
    "The Sergeant"
  • Tenou Khilouli
    Key Cast
    The last queen
  • Halim Zrebei
    Key Cast
  • Mohamed Bencharki
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    زهرة الصحراء
  • Project Type:
    Feature, Short
  • Genres:
    Drama, Period film
  • Runtime:
    28 minutes 35 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 30, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Arabic, French
  • Shooting Format:
    digital, Red Gumini
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Algiers
    September 16, 2023
    Premiere in Algeria
Director Biography - Oussama Benhassine

Oussama Benhassine, Algerian screenwriter since 2008, penned a dozen TV series ("Djemai Family", "Camera Cafe", "Ain El Djenna" won the "Golden Hilal" award for the best Algerian Tv Series in 2023). Shifting towards directing, "Desert Rose" is his first short film.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I must confess, nearly two years ago, my initial concept was to create a spectacular film addressing the French nuclear tests in Algeria within a fictional context. My intention was to provoke debate by approaching a subject that had never been tackled in this manner before. However, everything shifted when I delved into the research: hundreds of archive files, dozens of documentaries, and reports. One recurring term echoed in the testimonies: apocalypse!

The unexpected, the surprise, the overwhelming shockwave, the blinding light, the deafening sound, and the earth-shaking tremor — these were the perspectives shared by the 6,000 souls inhabiting the remote region of Reggane, nestled in the heart of the desert. These perceptions found resonance in my own portrayal within the film. This modest village, adorned with a handful of isolated oases, harbored souls defying fate amidst a challenging routine, youthful spirits maintaining their joy despite the harshness of daily life. A life seemingly simple in its aspirations, yet entwined with complexities inherited from colonialism. Then, in a fraction of a second, everything shifted. That ill-fated day of February 13, 1960, at 7:04 in the morning, sent everything spiraling into an infernal abyss. Ever since, nothing has been the same.

From that instant, the world assumed a new form, irreversibly altered. This transformation is not only evident in the 24,000 Algerian lives, a grim tally reported by both national and international bodies. It also resides in the destiny of a significant percentage of French soldiers present in Reggane. These men, vulnerable as they were, were stripped of foreknowledge about the afflictions that would silently befall them. Picture the scene: barely one soldier in 40 equipped with precious anti-radiation goggles, pointing to the criminal inadequacy of the precautions taken. However, in reality, this abhorrent act transcends the realm of mere military affairs, its implications stretching to touch the very dimension of politics itself.

In essence, in light of the immensity of this theme, a profound transformation has taken place within me. Now, my intention is no longer to create a spectacular war film, but rather to give rise to a cinematic narrative that is deeply human.