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The Lars Family Homestead (Star Wars)

Listed under Film Locations in Tunisia.

  • Photo of The Lars Family Homestead (Star Wars)
  • Photo of The Lars Family Homestead (Star Wars)
Photo of The Lars Family Homestead (Star Wars)
Photo by flickr user Neil Rickards
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Star Wars (Dir: George Lucas, 1977).

Chott el Djerid, Nefta and Sidi Driss Hotel, Matmata, Tunisia.

It’s pale rounded subterranean walls and glassless arched windows are built into and around what resembles a two storey deep empty swimming pool, but this simple, non descript building on the desert planet of Tatooine is where future heavy weight fighter in the battle between the dark and light sides of the force, Luke Skywalker was brought up.

The Lars family homestead, home also to Uncle Lars and Aunt Beru (and R2D2 and C3PO) was shot in Tunisia, at Chott el Djerid, for the externals and the Sidi Driss Hotel, for the internals. Chott el Djerid is really just an expansive salt pan literally in the middle of nowhere on the road between Tozeur and Kebili (it’s technically part of the Sahara Desert.). Part of Tatooine’s other worldly look in the film is from the heat haze shimmering off the pan and the strange ground, which is crusted over with salt. The internal scenes shot at the nearby Sidi Driss Hotel reveal the dim rounded passages and white vaulted underground rooms where Luke grew up.

The best thing about the hotel is that it wasn’t made up and dressed for the film so it doesn’t look like a tacky replica of a thirty year old set - it still looks like it does in the film, and the even better news for fans is that you can still stay there and it’s not that expensive. The hotel was dug into the ground so the air here is a lot cooler than you’re expecting it to be. It was also a lot nicer than I was expecting, I stayed in a kind of grotto which I though would be a bit oppressive, but it opened out onto a courtyard, just like Uncle Lars‘s rooms do, and I had a hole in my roof, originally for funneling grain, so I actually had quite a lot of natural light and I understood how Luke could have done his robotics repairs there.

While in Tunisia I also visited Ajim, Jerba the location used for Mos Eisley, planet Tatooine. There are lots of classic Star Wars locations but the Tatooine/ Tunisia locations remain a fans firm favourites because they still exists in their cinematic form (it’s not all done with CGI) and because it’s an integral part of the story and a crazy, truly unearthly looking place to go.

Written by  Film Fan.

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