Guardian of the desert

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German title Guardian of the desert
Original title The Meerkats
Country of production Great Britain
original language English
Publishing year 2008
length 83 minutes
Age rating FSK 0
Director James Honeyborne
script James Honeyborne (story),
Alexander McCall Smith (narrator's text)
production Trevor Ingman ,
Joe Oppenheimer
music Sarah Class
camera Barrie Britton ,
Tony Miller ,
Mark Payne Gill
cut Justin Krish

Guardians of the Desert (Original title: The Meerkats ) is a 2008 animal film directed by James Honeyborne .


The film shows footage from the Kalahari desert and follows a young meerkat from the age of three weeks, who was given the name Kolo, and his meerkat family. The interaction with other animals takes up a lot of space, including the African ostrich , martial eagle , bristle squirrel , desert lion , turtle , millipede , giraffe , cape cobra , scorpion , zebra , honey badger , lizard and rhinoceros . In particular, it shows what the young animal has to learn and what dangers it has to endure in the desert.


  • The narrator of the German version is Rufus Beck . In the original English you can hear Paul Newman . Newman's voice was recorded in a Connecticut studio in late 2007 . Newman died a month before the film was released.
  • According to the credits, the events are based on observations of meerkat families in the wild and were filmed over a period of six months, but the events were re-enacted for some scenes.
  • The film was produced by BBC Films under Joe Oppenheimer. It was made by the BBC Natural History Unit and Yaffle Films under producer Trevor Ingman. The Weinstein Company took over the co-financing.
  • It premiered on October 4th, 2008 in France at the 19th Dinard Film Festival. The cinema release in Germany was on November 20, 2008, in Great Britain on August 7, 2009. The German TV premiere took place on April 22, 2011 in Das Erste .
  • The film was released in Germany on May 22, 2009 on DVD and Blu-Ray. In addition to the rather sober English original narrative and the loosely based German version, there are two other audio tracks: One audio track was called "Family Version", in which Rufus Beck the meerkat speaks with a disguised voice and comments on events in a childlike, human way. Another sound track was called "The Sound of the Kalahari" and is a pure sound and music track without a narrator. The German subtitles of the DVD do not refer to the German soundtrack, but rather represent a translation of the English soundtrack that differs from the German version.


“'Guardians of the Desert' is a family film. In this case that means that, like every animal film, it appeals to children and parents, but also makes 'family' an issue in an almost propagandistic way. […] The professionals of the BBC Natural History Unit deliver amazing images - but when in the end it is said that some scenes have been 're-enacted', you will notice that the same dynamic of outbidding is at work in nature films as in action films: nobody knows in favor of the effect more what is real and what is not. [...] The documentary principle, whatever it may be good for, comes down to the dog. But in the end, the meerkat's development novel is a family policy statement anyway. "

- Peter Uehling

“It's just a shame that like the ' Journey of the Penguins ' it has to be human all the time. Why can't animals just be animals in the cinema? Rufus Beck as narrator makes up for it. Human meerkat documentary. "

- Christiane Peitz

“Meerkats are the secret heroes of the Kalahari. This family-friendly adventure documents their way of life and brings out the sociable little ones. However, the German narrative voice is difficult to bear. "

"Due to the anthropomorphization of the animals, the preference for emotionality and tension dramaturgy as well as the lack of information typical of the genre, the alleged documentation turns out to be an 'animal' adventure film for children, which is carried entirely by its cute, cuddly main characters."


Individual evidence

  1. Age rating for guardians of the desert . Youth Media Commission .
  2. ^ Neil Smith: Festival screens Newman Swansong . On BBC News , October 5, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  3. The premiere was at the Dinard Film Festival, with:
    Neil Smith: Festival screens Newman swansong . On BBC News , October 5, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
    The date (without specifying that it is a premiere) can be found here:
    Dinard Film Festival: Agenda (suite) Samedi 4 octobre (announced for October 4, 2008). In: La Feuille du Festival . ( Memento of the original from July 4, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
    Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF 670 kB) N ° 67, October 3, 2008 p. 2 (French); Retrieved October 7, 2012. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Peter Uehling: It falls over in great heat . In: Berliner Zeitung , November 20, 2008.
  5. Christiane Peitz: Animal Film - Guardians of the Desert . In: Der Tagesspiegel , November 20, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  6. Film releases of the week, January 27, 2009 . In: Der Standard , report of the APA ; Retrieved October 7, 2012.
  7. Lexicon of International Films - Film Year 2008: Guardians of the Desert . Schüren Verlag, Marburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-89472-663-8 , p. 464; Guardian of the desert in the dictionary of international films Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used
  8. Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix goes to TULPAN . News from October 26, 2008 on the Tokyo International Film Festival website . Retrieved October 7, 2012.

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