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    Rendezvous in Samarkand

    Thirst 'n' howl

    In the desert, no one can hear you scream, as the adventurers of "Rendezvous in Samarkand" learn on a jaunt through the unforgiving Sahara.


    The star of "Rendezvous in Samarkand" is the beautiful, heartless Sahara, dangerous but intriguing enough to attract a roguish American, his French girlfriend, and the companions they pick up along their cross-desert adventure.

    Written and directed by: Tim Bridwell.
    Cast: John Littlefield, Marie Ravel, Tsuyu Shimizu, Miho Nikaido, Lyes Salem, Edwin Apps, Jalil Naciri.
    Cinematography: Jan Maliszewski.
    Anthology Film Archives 32 Second Ave. (at Second Street)

    Rahdall, the American, has had the brilliant idea of transporting an American SUV down to Nigeria where it will bring several times its cost if they can avoid the border guards and duties. This is not an original idea, actually — it's a well-known pastime among daring European twentysomethings, combining fun and profit in an exotic locale.

    In France, Randall (John Littlefield, also seen in the much-inferior "From a High Place") picks up two attractive but enigmatic young Japanese women (Tsuyu Shimizu and Miho Nikaido). They decide, on the spur of the moment, to travel along with him and girlfriend Cecile (Marie Ravel) for part of their African journey, but their mysterious demeanor makes it obvious that they share some strange secret. Randall thinks they must be lovers.

    Rendezvous in Samarkand  
    The film explores the strange world of the Sahara (unforgettably described in the book "Sahara Unveiled" by William Langewiesche, which could easily be one of filmmaker Tim Bridwell's inspirations). Tiny hamlets dot the desert where people eke out an improbable existence in the almost waterless environment. Expatriates, brought to Africa by war, find comfort in their defection from Europe and embrace their adopted homes. Vast empty expanses seduce the visitor with their bright, rich colors — but threaten vengeance against anyone who doesn't take them seriously. This is a wilderness, after all, in which an unwise move will leave a traveler helpless with no help for days.

    One of the best things about "Rendezvous in Samarkand" is the way it not only tells the big story of Randall and Cecile's African adventure against the dramatic and lushly filmed backdrop of the Sahara, but also peppers it with smaller stories. It has both a grand sweep and a personal humanity.

    MAY 8, 2000

    Reader comments on Rendezvous in Samarkand:

  • RIS   from Hunter Sinclare, Jan 9, 2004
  • This film sucked   from Josh, Jun 14, 2004
  • Question   from Irina, Mar 5, 2005
  • robayat   from MOUSSA, Jan 9, 2006
  • help me find this film on DVD or VHS   from hassan hakmoun, Feb 15, 2007
  • Samarkand is in ASIA not AFRICA   from Ellie, Mar 25, 2007
  • Re: Samarkand is in ASIA not AFRICA   from Chimu, Apr 27, 2007
  • sahara????   from libhen, Apr 29, 2007

  • Post a comment on "Rendezvous in Samarkand"