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Michael Palin - Sahara
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Michael Palin's Sahara adventure is one of the great challenges in world travel. In this exhausting journey, Michael will pass through the rock of Gibraltar to Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and beyond. His route will take him across sand-seas, along treacherous rivers, through oases and over mountain ranges. The remote regions are characterized by ceaseless travel, from camel caravans to car rallies, but Michael Palin's love of traveling takes you to places many people will never know.]]>
Sahara comes in at a mere four one-hour episodes and the producers were left with a huge amount of unused footage. Thus the DVD features a large selection of deleted scenes. The excellent set of extras also includes a collection of rough video diaries--mainly featuring Palin being pummeled by the elements--and an extensive interview with the presenter. The picture quality is fantastic (particularly compared to Palin's earlier series), as is the digital sound. The whole package is thoroughly recommended. --Phil Udell
Top Customer Reviews
The trip started at Gibraltar and went all the way around, and sometimes into, the Sahara Desert, through Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria again, Ceuta, and back to Gibraltar. Some of these countries are huge, for example, Algeria is four times the size of France or three times the size of Texas. The Sahara Desert is roughly the same size as the United States, and the trip covered 10,000 miles and took three months.
The Sahara Desert is so close to well-known Europe (just on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea) and is yet almost totally unknown to most of us in the West. In "Sahara" this veil of ignorance is lifted.
All of the Michael Palin travelogue programs feature his wit and charm and exuberance, and "Sahara" is no exception. It was a very impressive trip, with many special Palin-style encounters with interesting people. And, of course, beautiful pictures from the desert and the picturesque ancient cities like Fez and Timbuktu.
Still, I'm giving only four stars to "Sahara" instead of the five stars I've given to most of the other Michael Palin travelogue programs.
My reduced enthusiasm for "Sahara" is related to the fact that most of the countries he visited this time are ones that represent many problems. Heat, drought, poverty, begging, sickness, cultures in decline, refusal to accept the modern world, political instability, even barbaric traditions (female circumcision).Read more ›
We just need ALL of his journeys in DVD, THEN we would all be happy :)
The most refreshing thing about his series is that they are not presented as "look at all these great touristic places I have been," but rather the camera is more of a silent witness to his adventures. It really just follows him as he sets out to do his carefully researched itineraries ("Around the World in 80 Days," "Pole to Pole," "Full Circle," "Sahara," "Himalaya") or themes ("Hemingway Adventure," "Palin's New Europe"). His style is both objective and subjective. Whilst retaining a journalistic like objectivity he also lets you know how he subjectively feels about the places he visits and about how he personally feels in regards to his personal health both physically and psychologically: he shares his apprehensions, feelings of triumph or defeat, relief or disparity, amazement and disappointments, mourning or elation or even neutrality, sickness and homesickness or feelings of health; in other words, his style is to bring the richness of a written travelogue to film. You get the feeling that you are watching his diary; for example, when he does his post trip/editing room voice-overs and other commentary, he adds his comments from it.Read more ›
His journey begins in Gibraltar, in the more 'familiar' setting of an island with a lot of British heritage, before he heads south to Morocco. After seeing some of the most amazing sites in the various cities there - including an ancient cloth dying area, with huge vats of dye - he moves on through the Atlas mountains to the south. They briefly stop at a Berber village, and witness a traditional Berber wedding ceremony, which is different in character to those we would expect in a (majority) Muslim country.
One of the most remarkable places he stops on this leg of the journey, is a refugee camp literally in the middle of the desert. The people are refugees by virtue of them wanting to remain free, and not part of the disputed territory of Western Sahara. The camp is more like a village, but the nearest good drinking water is over 50 miles away!
After that he travels to Mauritania, and then travels towards Senegal "first class" on a 2km long iron-ore train. The cabin consists of some cramped quarters where people can lie down and look out of a hole ("window") for the journey. Other passengers do not fare so well, and lay out a mat on top of the iron ore, sitting on that for the 6+hr long journey through the blazing sun.
Once in Senegal, it looks like being in France - the reflections of colonialism are intense. One of the most amazing things about this whole journey, is how Michael manages to get by using his abilities in French - everyone seems to understand it, regardless of the country!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyed the documentary & the cinematography of the Sahara & the tribal people.Published 21 months ago by The Purple Bee
It was an excellent dvd series set, great shape, and very fast shipping! Thanks!!!Published on July 24, 2014 by Richard Deibner
I've been of the opinion that Michael Palin's roughest travel was through Central Africa in Pole to Pole. Glad that he's making that trip "so you don't have to. Read morePublished on November 13, 2013 by D. R. M.
Palin's older shows, "Around the World in 80 Days" and "Pole to Pole" were absolute delights, classics in every way. How can "Sahara" be such a messed-up muddle? Read morePublished on March 27, 2013 by Greybeard
This video is an old friend revisited. The DVD it self is in good condition, however, the case is a little worn.Published on February 14, 2013 by Carla
I just finished watching all four episodes of this travelogue. I like Michael Palin and have seen at least one other travelogue and enjoyed it, but this one just doesn't... Read morePublished on September 7, 2011 by Michael J. Rentner
I am collecting all of his video travel documentary series but this one and his Hemmingway disk are probably the least two I'd recommend. Read morePublished on May 9, 2011 by bullydog
Excellent story/travel log -- seems like one is right along his trip and to see and hear the sounds and discussions along the way.Published on July 1, 2010 by Dan W. Yoder sr