Lion of the Desert (DVD, Arabic & English, 25th Anniversary Edition )
Quinn relied more on wile than on physical prowess, just as Mukhtar did in real life. This is not a Braveheart-type of film that unrealistically depicts the oppressed Libyans as defeating the much larger and better equipped Italian army through sheer courage, but rather one that is marked by frequent exhaustion and defeat. Omar Mukhtar today is remembered less for his ability to foil the fascists, but rather for his inner resourcefulness and belief in freedom.
In the beginning of the film, Mukhtar is giving Qur’an lessons to young boys in a Senusi village. Throughout the film, the character’s religious faith goes hand-in-hand with his determination to resist the occupation. These same beliefs also lead him to avoid mistreatment of Italian prisoners. His main adversary in the film is Gen. Rodolfo Graziani (Oliver Reed), who was hand-picked by Mussolini to quash the Senusi rebellion. His methods included herding the Senusi into concentration camps and erecting a long barbed-wire fence between Libya and Egypt to cut off supplies. Historians estimate that between 30,000 and 70,000 Senusis were killed during the occupation. Shortly after, the fascists hung Omar Mukhtar. His followers issued a statement that could be a rallying cry for the Iraqi resistance today:
The Fascists believed that the condemnation of Omar Mukhtar to death would make it easier for them to occupy the country, but unfortunately for them the souls of the martyrs are an eternal flame which inspires the national spirit in the hearts of the people still living. The martyr of the Tripoli-Brace nation is not dead; for he has left his people with an immortal monument of heroism which will be inherited by future generations. This sad monument, built by the Fascist assassins’ hands, will remain forever and will never be forgotten because it has left mortal wounds in our hearts.
Woe to those oppressors who do not respect the age, the courage and the incomparable heroism of Omar Mukhtar, but they cannot understand the significance of this quality. The years cannot wipe out the horror of this crime, which struck the heart of all Arabs, and which will always remain as a stain on their history, washed as it is in the blood of innocents, of women, of men, of the aged and of children.
- Lion of the Desert - English Language
- Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs
- The Making of LION OF THE DESERT
- Audio Commentary with Producer/Director Moustapha Akkad
- Omar Mukhtar - Arabic Language
- Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs
- The Making of OMAR MUKHTAR
- Arabic Audio Commentary with Producer/Director Moustapha Akkad
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