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bab'aziz - the prince who contemplated his soul

Bab’Aziz (2005)


Bab’Aziz – The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul (2005)


A visual poem of incomparable beauty, this masterpiece from director Nacer Khemir (director of Wanderers of the Desert/El-haimoune, 1984) begins with the story of a blind dervish named Bab’Aziz and his spirited granddaughter, Ishtar. Together they wander the desert in search of a great reunion of dervishes that takes place just once every thirty years.
With faith as their only guide, the two journey for days through the expansive, barren landscape. To keep Ishtar entertained, Bab’Aziz relays the ancient tale of a prince who relinquished his realm in order to remain next to a small pool in the desert, staring into its depths while contemplating his soul.
As the tale of the prince unfolds, the two encounter other travelers with stories of their own – including Osman, who longs for the beautiful woman he met at the bottom of a well, and Zaid, who searches for the ravishing young woman who fled from him after being seduced by his songs.


Filled with breathtaking images and wonderful music, Nacer Khemir has created a fairytale-like story of longing and belonging, filmed in the enchanting and ever-shifting sandscapes of Tunisia and Iran.
Director Nacer Khemir’s past cinematic achievements include his award-winning features Les Baliseurs du Désert (Wanderers of the Desert ), awarded Grand Prix of the Festival des Trois Continents in 1984, and Le Collier Perdu de la Colombe (The Dove’s Lost Necklace ), which won the Special Jury Prize at Locarno in 1991.
The script was written by Nacer Khemir with the participation of screenwriter Tonino Guerra (Amarcord, Night of the Shooting Stars, Blowup and L’Avventura).


Bab’Aziz has won multiple awards – 3 wins and 1 nomination:

  • Fajr Film Festival 2005 | Winner Crystal Simorgh | Spiritual Competiton: Best Film
    Cyriac Auriol
  • Muscat International Film Festival 2006 | Winner Golden Dagger | Best Picture
  • Nantes Three Continents Festival 2005 | Winner Special Mention Nacer Khemir | Nominee Golden Montgolfiere | Best Film Nacer Khemir

Bab’Aziz | The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul (2005)

This version is in six parts, each segment lasting about 15 mins | Pt. 1; Pt. 2; Pt. 3; Pt. 4; Pt. 5; Pt. 6 | English subtitles

Director:  Nacer Khemir
Writers:  Tonino Guerra (collaboration) | Nacer Khemir
Production Companies:  Behnegar Farabi Cinema Foundation | Hannibal Films Inforg Stúdió | Les Films du Requin Pegasos Film Zephyr
Films Distributors:  Filmarti (2010) (Turkey) | Bavaria Film International (2005) (World-wide) | Budapest Film (2006) (Hungary) | Cinematograph Filmverleih (2006) (Austria) | Gébéka Films (2006) (France) | Pegasos Film (Germany) | Typecast Releasing (2008) (USA) | Trigon-film (2005) (Switzerland) | Kinowelt Home Entertainment (2008) (Germany) | Typecast Releasing (2008) (USA) | Trigon-film (2006) (Switzerland)

Other Companies:  Abacus Consult (accounting: audit)

Orchestra:  Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra | Conducted by Armand Amar
Composer: Armand Amar
Score:  Naïve (original score)

R.D.I Sound Design Studio
(sound post-production)
SIF309 Film & Music Productions (film score recording)

(in credits order)  

Parviz Shahinkhou Parviz Shahinkhou Bab’Aziz
Maryam Hamid Maryam Hamid Ishtar
Golshifteh Farahani Golshifteh Farahani Nour
Mohamed Grayaâ Mohamed Grayaâ Osman
Hossein Panahi Hossein Panahi Red Dervish
Nessim Khaloul Nessim Khaloul Zaid
Hessam Hassanipour Hessam Hassanipour Hassan
Hamed Hassanipour Hamed Hassanipour Hossein
Morteza Zare Morteza Zare Ramadan
Mohsen Ghazi Moradi Mohsen Ghazi Moradi Intendant
Ali Asghar Nejat Ali Asghar Nejat The Horse Rider
Kaveh Khodashenas Kaveh Khodashenas Prince
Jahan Souz Fouladi Jahan Souz Fouladi Old Prince Dervish
Abdelmajid Lakhal Abdelmajid Lakhal Old Calligrapher / Calligrapher
Razi Amiri Razi Amiri The Smuggler
Soren Mehrabiar Soren Mehrabiar Dervish 1
Shahab Tabrizian Shahab Tabrizian Dervish 2
Pouria Bahremano Pouria Bahremano Dervish 3
Salimeh Mobakkari Salimeh Mobakkari Dervish 4
Khazir Moavizadeh Khazir Moavizadeh Dervish 5
Emnanaoui Emnanaoui Zahra
Intidhar Kamarti Intidhar Kamarti Palace Girl 1
Hayet Trabelsi Hayet Trabelsi Palace Girl 2
Lilia Gharsallah Lilia Gharsallah Palace Girl 13
Nouridine Chiba Nouridine Chiba Dervish
Ramona Shah Ramona Shah Woman with Letter
Alireza Wasibi Alireza Wasibi Henna Worker
Reza Najifi Reza Najifi Card Player
Negar Atash Afrouz Negar Atash Afrouz Girl in the Mosque
Naim Shahmovad Khan Naim Shahmovad Khan Hassan’s Friend
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Zeinab Ghareeb Zeinab Ghareeb Ishtar
Mohammadreza Najafi Mohammadreza Najafi    

Produced by 

Cyriac Auriol producer
Karl Baumgartner co-producer
Mehran Haghighi co-producer
Lauraine Heftler assistant producer
András Muhi co-producer
Ali Reza Shoja’noori producer (as Ali Reza Shoja-Nuri)

Music by 

Armand Amar  

Cinematography by 

Mahmoud Kalari  

Film Editing by 

Isabelle Rathery  

Casting By 

Leila Fournier  
Sarah Teper  

Art Direction by 

Anes Talmoudi (art design)

Costume Design by 

Maud Perl  

Production Management 

Mohammadreza Najafi production manager

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director 

Benjamin Blanc first assistant director
Iraj Habashi second assistant director: Iran
Amin Mahdavi first assistant director
Sepehr Mikaeilian assistant director

Art Department 

Majid Mirfakhraei artistic advisor (as Majid Mir-fakhrai)
Issa Traverdian props: Iran

Sound Department 

Ahmad Ardalan boom operator: Iran
Bahman Ardalan sound (as Bahman Bani Ardalan)
Franck Desmoulins sound editor
Séverin Favriau sound editor
Amirhossein Ghasemi sound editor (as Amir-Hossein Ghasemi)
Steve Higgs sound
Gábor ifj. Erdélyi sound editor
Róbert Juhász re-recording mixer
Anne Maisonhaute foley recordist
Stuart Wilson sound

Visual Effects by 

Manfred Büttner visual effects producer
Erich Eder visual effects supervisor
Yves Göbel digital effects artist
Daniel Lo Iacono digital effects artist
Sandra Moll visual effects producer
Heiko Schweizer digital effects artist

Camera and Electrical Department 

Shahrad Banki still photographer
Mondher El Gaied grip: Tunisia
Amine Messadi assistant camera

Editorial Department 

Marie Deroudille assistant editor
Nicolas Novak post-production assistant
Béraud Valentine post-production coordinator

Location Management 

Fethi Baccouchi location manager

Music Department 

Thomas Jamois soundtrack producer
Vincent Joinville music editor / music mixer / music recordist
Asen Kanchev music production manager

Other crew 

Monica Donati unit publicist
Margaret Dowling accountant: Britain
Anita Gerencsér production coordinator
Hosni Mihol caterer: Tunisia
Dora Nedeczky in-house production assistant
[Source:  International Movie Database (IMDb)]

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