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The Desert of the Tartars

For the novel of the same name, see The Tartar Steppe.
The Desert of the Tartars
File:The Desert of the Tartars.jpg
Directed by Valerio Zurlini
Produced by Michelle de Broca
Bahman Farmanara
Enzo Giulioli
Written by Jean-Louis Bertucelli
Screenplay by André G. Brunelin
Based on The Tartar Steppe by Dino Buzzati
Starring Vittorio Gassman
Jacques Perrin
Helmut Griem
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Luciano Tovoli
Edited by Raimondo Crociani
Distributed by Filmverlag der Autoren
Quartet Films
NoShame Films
Release dates
  • 29 October 1976 (1976-10-29) (Italy)
Running time
140 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian

The Desert of the Tartars (Italian: Il deserto dei Tartari) is a 1976 Italian film by director Valerio Zurlini with an international cast, including Jacques Perrin, Vittorio Gassman, Max von Sydow, Francisco Rabal, Helmut Griem, Giuliano Gemma, Philippe Noiret, Fernando Rey, and Jean-Louis Trintignant. The cast also included Iranian film veteran actor Mohammad-Ali Keshavarz.

It is based on the Dino Buzzati's novel The Tartar Steppe. The film omits certain parts of the novel, especially those relating to the lives of Drogo's friends in his home town.

It was filmed in Arg-e Bam, Iran, and was released on 29 October 1976 in Italy. It was shown as part of the Cannes Classics section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[1]

The film's visual style was influenced by the work of Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico.[2]


The film tells the story of a young officer, Giovanni Drogo (Jacques Perrin), and the time that he spent guarding the Bastiani Fortress, an old, unmaintained border fortress. It is noted for its scenery, the lighting and cinematography, and the psychological questions it raises.






  1. ^ "Cannes Classics 2013 line-up unveiled". Screen Daily. Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  2. ^ Rolando Caputo. Literary cineastes: the Italian novel and the cinema. In: Peter E. Bondanella & Andrea Ciccarelli (eds.). The Cambridge Companion to the Italian Novel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. P. 182-196.

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