June 23, 20158:30 pm

Mauretanian director Sissako, who spent part of his youth in Mali, was inspired to make this film when he read an article in Paris newspaper in 2012 about the public stoning of an unmarried couple in the town of Aguelhok (for reportedly having children outside wedlock). Set against the stunning landscapes of the fabled Saraha city of Timbuktu, his satirical and nuanced examination of the rise of Islamist Jihadis in the West African state, and its effect on the everyday lives of its citizens, could not be more timely with the subsequent rise of Islamic State and Boko Haram.

The film has a multi-ethnic cast and dialogue in six different languages. Timbuktu was warmly received at Cannes where it won two awards and was nominated for a Palme d’Or; it also won 7 Cesars, the French equivalent of the Oscars, and was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. When it was programmed at a Belgian film festival earlier this year the festival had to be cancelled because of a terrorist threat.

”This is in no way the remorselessly grim film its subject matter might lead you to expect – it’s full of life, irony, poetry and bitter unfairness. It demands respect, but it also earns it.” Tim Robey, The Telegraph

”He gives us a complex depiction of the kind you don’t get on the nightly TV news … this has moral authority for being expressed with such grace and care.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Film Information

Release year: 2014
Running time:   99 mins
Directed by: Abderrahmane Sissako
Language:Arabic, French
Country:France, Mauretania
Starring:Ibrahim Ahmed,
Toulou Kiki,
Abel Jafri
Awards:Cannes Francois Chalais Award and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury
More info: IMDb
Rotten Tomatoes

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