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About the Movie
Not far from Timbuktu, now ruled by the religious fundamentalists, Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima, his daughter Toya, and Issan, their twelve-year-old shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined to control their faith. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. The women have become shadows but resist with dignity. Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences. Kidane and his family are being spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu. But their destiny changes when Kidane accidentally kills Amadou, the fisherman who slaughtered “GPS,” his beloved cow. He now has to face the new laws of the foreign occupants.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 112
- Fresh: 111
- Rotten: 1
- Average Rating: 8.9/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: Sissako achieves the daunting task of humanizing the villains by playing on audience expectations and preconceptions.
Fresh: Abderrahmane Sissako's sad, handsome film is a response, a supplement, and a protest to the horrors that flash by on the news.
Fresh: A transcendent political poem as intellectually rigorous as it is beautiful.
Fresh: The performances are hushed and memorable. Cinematographer Sofian El Fanicaptures the beauty of this desert land. Amine Bouhafa's score is its own act of gorgeous grace and defiance.
Spellbindingly beautiful and horrifying all at once
This film puts so much into context. It compassionately and patiently portrays the humanity of each of its characters, even those who dole out cruel violence and persecution in the name of faith. It tells a story which unfortunately is a true portrait of the immense suffering that befell Timbuktu and other places like it, through the radicalization of religion, the toppling of regimes, and the mass corruption of power and militarized masculinity. This film lovingly shows the warmth of the people of Timbuktu in all of their diversity, speaking in different languages and dialects, faithful to family and community, appreciative of life, and loyal to Islam--and how the fundamentalist Islamic faith of the invaders contrasts so sharply with theirs. It shines light on the difference between true jihad of the soul and the paranoid jihad of guns and killings, and not only how cruelly depraved the latter can be but also how absurd and counterintuitive it is too, for all parties concerned. There is much love and pain in this film but it is a parable filled with teachings for the times in which we live, with relevance not only for Timbuktu but to other places of civil unrest throughout the world.
Astonishing poetic marvel
Though one must tune down the rhythm of watching to the pace which is slow, once one stops fighting this, it is like entering a new dimension of life. The cinematography, artful without conceit, is a revelation. The story , which I found a little to predictable is still transcendent, in its overarching vision and soul.
Slow but extremely well made movie
Though the pace of the movie is slow but the characterisation and story telling is fantastic.