The Roses of the Desert - Mario Monicelli - Italy




Airing times

5 Top Italian Comedies of All Time

Mario Monicelli, the father of Italian comedy

The Roses of the Desert (Le rose del deserto, 2006)

Director: Mario Monicelli
Cast: Michele Placido, Giorgio Pasotti, Alessandro Haber


In wartime, every human emotion is heightened. There is the fear of battle, the hatred for the enemy, the sorrow of loss… But there is also space for laughter. Eurochannel presents a humorous take on WWII in a hilarious comedy following a group of inexpert Italian soldiers making their way in Africa: they are The Roses of the Desert.

Directed by a legend of Italian cinema, Mario Monicelli, The Roses of the Desert follows the adventures of an army medical unit, the third division of the 31st "Sezione Sanità,” stationed in the Libyan Desert during WWII. Released when Monicelli was 91 years old, this is the last feature film by the great master of Italian cinema.

The story, inspired by the book Il deserto della Libia by Mario Tobino (a long-time friend of Monicelli), entertains with the comedic happenings of an affable intellectual major who is forever writing love-letters to his beautiful young wife, a down-to-earth Dominican friar who brow-beats the unit into giving medical treatment to Arab villagers in his care, a yelling Fascist general, and a platoon of joyful soldiers making the best of war.

Through wit, cunning teamwork, and a good sense of humour, they manage to survive even the most bizarre and dangerous of situations.

A sanitary battalion of the Italian army is sent to the Sorman oasis in Libya during the African campaign in 1940. Soon, an Italian missionary, living nearby, succeeds in transforming the occupation by the Italian army into a humanitarian mission. In fact, the entire battalion is involved in helping the local population.

Festivals and Awards

• Mar Del Plata International Film Festival - Official Selection
• Febiofest International Film Festival - Official Selection
• Days Of European Cinema Slovenia - Official Selection
• Open Roads: New Italian Cinema Lincoln Center New York - Official Selection
• Cinemania Film Festival Sofia - Official Selection

Airing times

Sign up for the Eurochannel Newsletter!

Don't miss our latest line-up, exclusive sweepstakes and events!