The Roses of the Desert

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Le rose del deserto
Directed by Mario Monicelli
Produced by Mauro Berardi
Written by Alessandro Bencivenni
Suso Cecchi d'Amico
Mario Monicelli
Domenico Saverni
Based on Il deserto della Libia
by Mario Tobino
Starring Michele Placido
Giorgio Pasotti
Alessandro Haber
Music by Paolo Dossena
Mino Freda
Cinematography Saverio Guarna
Edited by Bruno Sarandrea
Release date
  • December 1, 2006 (2006-12-01)
Running time
102 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian

The Roses of the Desert (Italian: Le rose del deserto) is an Italian film released in 2006. It was directed by Mario Monicelli, in his final film, and was loosely inspired by the romance Il deserto della Libia of Mario Tobino.


In World War II a group of Italian soldiers is sent to Egypt to provide assistance to the local population. The military, however, should expect other directives from the Duce Benito Mussolini but completely lose contact with the Italy. Soon the members of the brigade, which includes some very curious and picturesque characters such as the Captain who loves poetry, get acquainted with the local customs and forget their duty as soldiers. Again however the war impose its presence, after an encounter with an outspoken missionary (Michele Placido) who is walking through the desert with a troop of Germans. As hostilities begin again, the soldiers take up arms, but something has changed through their experience and they begin to consider war as useless, while they could live in blissful oblivion in a land so beautiful and rich in culture. These thoughts are cut short when the Captain, who alone had remained a reference figure for the troops, discovers that his recently deceased wife was not faithful. He commits suicide by jumping against the weapons of some Bedouin.

In 2015, the book Staging Memory by Stefania Del Monte dedicates a whole section to the movie.



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