A French love drama taking place in 1930s Africa, in a desert part of French colonies, where French soldiers try to deal with the conflict with the native Tuareg people. Marie Vallières de Beaumont, an adventurer and record-breaking aviatrix, lands in the middle of the small military base and asks its commander to help her find Bill Lancaster, her lover and flight partner, who had a catastrophe somewhere near. At the same time, Lieutenant Antoine Chauvet finds himself severely conflicted with the commander who blames his peaceful approach to the Tuareg for the misfortunes associated with the natives' rebellion. Even when she is refused the escort by the commander, De Beaumont is determined to find Bill no matter what, and Chauvet decides to join her despite his initial dislike of the pilot. Among the hardships, sharp worldview discussions and a lot of UST ensue between the two.The film's African setting, panoramic landscapes and impressive music - along with its problematic love story - bring to mind Out of Africa (also, both films are adaptations of the novels, and both are criticized for introducing too much romantic elements to the original story). In reality, the woman who accompanied Lancaster in his famous flight from England to Australia was Jessie 'Chubbie' Miller. Apart from their shared passion for flying, they had indeed a love affair, but its true ending was somewhat less romantic.
Provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Marie. She is able to fly the plane, ride the camel and fire a signal flare despite its being 1930s.
- African Chant: There is one - without the jungle or drums (as this is a desert), but it is a chant and it is African.
- All Deserts Have Cacti: Averted. All the time, not a cactus in sight.
- Commander Contrarian: Antoine's commander is this both to Antoine and Marie.
- Crossing the Desert: The majority of the plot.
- Downer Ending: they fail to find Lancaster, even though his crash took place very near the place when they were looking for him.
- The Film of the Book by Sylvain Estibal.
- Heartbroken Badass: Marie.
- Intimate Healing: including the Kiss of Life.
- Love Dodecahedron: Antoine, Marie, Bill, Amana, and Bill's wife.
- Mighty Whitey: Subverted. Antoine is the only French soldier with with whom the Tuareg want to talk, but his efforts to peacefully end the rebellion result in the death of his comrade.
- The Lost Lenore: a rare male version.
- Real-Life Relative: the actors who act as Antoine and Marie (Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard) are a couple in real life.
- Politically Correct History: the characters more than once discuss White Man's Burden in this way.
- UST: Between Marie and Antoine - though harsh weather conditions eventually force them to resolve some of it.