Every year, a man leading a bear arrives in the Algerian village of Zitouna and challenges the little community to find a champion to square off against the bear. And every year, it is Slimane el Mabrouk who defends the tribe's honor. But one year, the outcome is fatal, and Slimane's two children, Omar and Ourida, are orphaned. Stripped of their inheritance, the children grow up alone.
The years pass. The French army moves into the area as the war for independence intensifies. One day, Omar mysteriously takes to the hills following the murder of a French legionnaire (perhaps an act of resistance, perhaps a simple criminal murder). Omar's sister Ourida, meanwhile, dies in childbirth. Much later, Algerian independence is won and Omar returns to the village as a representative of the new government, uttering this enigmatic phrase : "Just remember that the Revolution hasn't forgotten you."
Is this a threat of personal revenge or a promise of modern progress? The village, their traditional way of life disrupted forever, will soon have an answer to their questions.