Sahara (2017 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byPierre Coré
Screenplay by
  • Pierre Coré
  • Nessim Debbiche
  • Stéphane Kazandjian
Story byPierre Coré
Produced by
  • Eric Altmayer
  • Nicolas Altmayer
  • Pierre Coré
  • Michel Cortey
  • Christian Ronget
  • Claude Léger
  • Johnathan Vanger
Edited byFanny Bouquard
Music byJérôme Rebotier
Heitor Pereira (USA)
  • Mandarin Cinéma
  • La Station Animation
  • Transfilm International
Distributed byStudioCanal
Netflix (USA)
Release dates
  • 18 January 2017 (2017-01-18) (L'Alpe d'Huez Film Festival)
  • 12 May 2017 (2017-05-12) (United States)
Running time
84 minutes
  • France
  • Canada
Box office$8.1 million[1]

Sahara is a 2017 3D animated adventure film directed by Pierre Coré (in his directorial debut) and distributed by StudioCanal. The film was released on January 18, 2017, and received mixed reviews from critics, praising its visuals, humour, music and choreography but condemning its plot and pacing.


In the desert, where the animals are called "Dusties", Ajar the cobra and his best friend, Pitt the scorpion, steal a watermelon from a camelcade, only to have it taken by an older cobra named Saladin. The duo are a frequent target of belittling by Saladin and are viewed as outcasts. Ajar, tired of being a "loser", decides they should go into the Oasis, a haven for the rich and highly sophisticated green snakes but is forbidden to the Dusties.

Ajar disguises himself as a green snake and then enters the Oasis. He meets a green snake named Eva, who disguised herself as a Dusty in attempt to escape the Oasis. They are then ambushed by Secretary birds, who chase them to the edge of a cliff. Eva and Ajar jump off the cliff, landing in a river. The disguises wash off in the river, revealing their true identities to one another. Being a Dusty, Ajar is not able to swim and almost drowns, but is saved by Eva, who revives him with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Ajar and Eva become friends after that and Ajar falls in love with Eva, but Eva is then captured by Omar, a snake charmer and skinner.

Ajar gives chase, but he and Pitt are captured by Chief-Chief, one of the secretary birds guarding the Oasis. The two are taken to the birds' base, where Chief-Chief and the other birds threaten to kill them. However, Ajar uses Gary, Eva's lazy and dim-witted brother, as a hostage, and they escape on the back of one of the secretary birds. When Pitt accidentally stings the bird, it loses consciousness and the trio continue on the ground.

Meanwhile, Eva meets other snakes that have been caught by Omar, including the coral snake twins, Lulu Belle and Lily Belle, a charming green snake named George, a white snake named Pietra, who dislikes her, but greets her like the others do, and a red python named Rita. The snakes tell Eva of their professions, and Omar then takes them all out, where he plays the flute. Eva tries to escape Omar, but is hypnotized by the sound of the flute and goes back. When the snakes are returned into the basket, Pietra offers Eva a method of escape through a hole in the basket in an attempt to get rid of her. However, both are caught by Omar. He forces them to compete in a dance-off. Eva wins, while Pietra is put into the basket of snakes that are to be skinned.

Gary, Ajar, and Pitt, still on their quest, fall into a cave, where they are greeted by Glow-Worms. The Glow-Worm King gives them directions to find Eva, but then try to lure them in as prey, and the three narrowly escape. Soon after, they climb into a jeep with some tourists, but are discovered and Pitt is separated from the others. They then find a fast-talking sandfish, who leaves them with the name, Souksoukville, then leaves. Ajar and Gary find an oasis, where they rest for the night and slowly become friends after Ajar reveals he and Pitt are the only friends they have (since Pitt's family was killed by the Tuaregs) and Gary reveals he has no friends at all. Pitt stays at the tourists' camp, where he joins a group of scorpions.

Ajar and Gary find a well at the oasis. They ride a bucket down to escape a sandstorm, and then arrive at another town. They follow Omar's ads to get to his store, where Ajar sees Eva and the other snakes trapped in a cage, and George embracing Eva. Mistaking the encounter for a romantic one, Ajar almost gives up on his quest until he releases a ceiling fan, which falls on top of the cage, freeing all the snakes. Omar sees this and runs to get his flute, but Ajar takes it.

Omar pursues Ajar around the city, where the sandstorm rages. Ajar is chased at the top of a mosque, where Omar tries to grab the flute, but breaks it. He grabs Ajar so he doesn't fall off the building, but Ajar's skin comes off, and Omar disappears into the sandstorm. The storm calms, and Ajar falls onto a platform below. He is found by Eva and Gary and is thought to be dead, much to their dismay, but he then awakens. Eva realizes that Ajar had crossed a desert for her, and the two kiss. Omar then appears, but falls unconscious after Pitt stings him. He introduces them to Emily, a scorpion from the group he had stayed with earlier. Ajar, Eva, Emily, Pitt, Gary, and Pietra drive away in a tourist car.

As the van drives off, the fast-talking sandfish appears next to a camel, and tells it that Ajar and Eva might go back and live happily ever after at the Oasis and teach the Dusties and Green Snakes to live together as equals, but he claims to have no idea on whether or not this happens.

Voice cast[edit]

French and English voice actors are listed:


The voicing of Ajar was difficult for Omar Sy due to the fact that the character was a teenage snake and Omar needed to express excitement, fragility and a lack of self-confidence.[2]


Sahara was nominated and named in the category "Best Animation Film" at Les Cesar Academy 2018. It was the first French animated film at the box office in 2017.


  1. ^ "Box-office France : Cinquante nuances plus sombres meilleur démarrage de 2017". February 15, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  2. ^ ""Sahara" : peau de serpent pour Omar Sy, Louane et Frank Gastambide". Retrieved March 19, 2019.

External links[edit]