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NNarrative Competition

Timbuktu

Timbuktu

Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Mauritania, France, Qatar | Bambara, Arabic
2014 | 100min.
Subtitles: Arabic, English
Format: DCP
Theme: V
18+
The timeliness of Timbuktu couldn’t be more apt, yet it’s not the film’s relevance to contemporary events that makes it so extraordinary, but its deep compassion. Since the late 1990s, Abderrahmane Sissako has been at the forefront of African filmmakers thanks to stunningly composed works highlighting the humanity of his characters. Few directors so demonstrably love and respect their creations as does Sissako, who infallibly imbues them with intelligence and dignity. His latest film, one of the most warmly received in Cannes this year, is no exception. Timbuktu takes place just after the multiethnic city of libraries, mosques and historic shrines was taken over by fanatical jihadists and focuses on the lives of several residents forced to accept foreign interpretations of their religion. Musicians are punished, a Tuareg family is torn apart and any sense of individuality—of life, really—is systematically being snuffed out by a ragtag group of outsiders whose narrow interpretation of Islam seems bent on negating the human experience. While it’s a powerful cry against extremism, Timbuktu is no manipulative piece of agitprop but a deeply shaded condemnation of intolerance. As always it’s the women who are the most vulnerable, yet thanks to their sharp understanding and earthy affinities, they are also sources of strength. Through their resistance, hope may be kept alive—though always at a terrible price.

Director,  Abderrahmane Sissako

Director,  Abderrahmane Sissako

Abderrahmane Sissako was born in Mauritania in 1961 and largely grew up in Mali before studying film at Moscow’s prestigious Federal State Film Institute (VGIK). He made his first short Le jeu in 1991 and his first feature Life on Earth in 1998, which won several awards including prizes in San Francisco and Ougadougou. His film Waiting for Happiness was screened at Un Certain Regard at Cannes, winning the FIPRESCI Prize. Timbuktu is Sissako’s return to Mali following his widely acclaimed Bamako, which also premiered at Cannes and received worldwide release.

Cast and Crew

Director
Abderrahmane Sissako
Cast
Ibrahim Ahmed, Toulou Kiki, Abel Jafri, Fatoumata Diawara, Hichem Yacoubi, Kettly Noel
Production Company
Les Films du Worso, Dune Vision, Arches Films
Sales Contact
Le Pacte
Music
Amine Bouhafa
Producer
Abderrahmane Sissako
Screenwriter
Abderrahmane Sissako, Kessen Tall
Editor
Nadia Ben Rachid
Cinematographer
Sofiane El Fani
Sound
Philippe Welsh, Roman Dymny, Thierry Delors
Production Designer
Sébastien Birchler
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