Timbuktu

By April 3, 20152015 FilmFest

April 19, 2015 2:35pm

SilverCity Theatre B

Mali/Mauritania/France

Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Cast: Ibrahim Ahmed, Abel Jafri, Toulou Kiki
Runtime: 97 minutes
Language: Arabic/French/Tamashek with English subtitles
Rating: 14A

Academy Award Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film

Cannes Film Festival: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury

Chicago International Film Festival: Best Director

“An unflinching, quietly furious exploration of life under radical Islamist rule.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

“Dazzling and morally devastating …” – Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

Timbuktu is set in the ancient sub-Saharan village in Mali, where Islamic fundamentalists took control in 2012 in an attempt to turn back the clock and impose Sharia law.

The modest villagers who’d raised cattle and fished there for generations must have felt like they were being invaded by aliens. The jihadists, wielding machine guns and bullhorn directives are shown to be thugs and hypocrites.

An unmarried couple are buried up to their necks and stoned to death; a woman whose only crime was playing music is sentenced to 40 lashes, during which she defiantly sings through her cries of pain.

Director Sissako wants to show us not only the repressive face of radical Islam but also the culture that it is extinguishing.

The most powerful story line revolves around a cattle owner named Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed) who lives peacefully in a tent with his wife (Toulou Kiki) and 12-year-old daughter (Layla Walet Mohamed).

Kidane’s own sense of justice and anger will soon detonate with tragic consequences, but for a moment, we see the harmony and humanity about to be scattered to the desert winds—a way of life that will be lost to foreigners blinded by their own righteousness.

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