Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
A song for freedom
A cattle herder and his family who reside in the dunes of Timbuktu find their quiet lives -- which are typically free of the Jihadists determined to control their faith -- abruptly disturbed. A look at the brief occupation of Timbuktu by militant Islamic rebels.
tiff 2014 film #10
This film struck me like no other at TIFF.
If you want to know what it is like, really like, when your world gets taken over by regimes or fanatics that haphazardly impose their will over yours, this is the film to see. If you want to know what it is like to be helpless, truly helpless, the way many communities are in the world, this is the film to see. If you want to see the results of fanaticism, not in the big headline-worthy way (although that too) but in the insidious way it manifests itself in your daily life, this is the film to see.
Director Abderrahmane Sissako takes his time, he takes care…
Of all the films as of late that attempt to depict an unfocused atmospheric portrait of some faraway country’s cultural idiosyncrasy or oppression, Timbuktu is probably the best, because it finds the delicate line between shock and satire, between heavy emotions and an impromptu joke or two and between barbarism and touches of humanity. For a film with little story, time flies as the viewer is shown a quick succession of subtly interwoven pieces on maintaining a certain everydayness under Jihadist rule. It never feels Islamophobic, nor does it leave a very sour taste afterwards; watching it may get uneasy during some scenes, but the camera doesn’t linger in an exploitive fashion, whilst it does linger to capture the passive…
TIFF 2014 film #10
Reason for pick: Buzz from Cannes
Director Abderrahmane Sissako frames his story of the occupation of Timbuktu by Islamic fundamentalist rebels with a perfect first scene. A jeep filled with men carrying machine guns races across the plane chasing a gazelle. Several rounds are fired, and we hear a voice yell out “ no! no! we don’t want to kill him, we just want to wear him out.”
Aside from this opening shot, the extremists are not painted as banshee screaming gun firing boogymen. No, their quiet insinuation into the lives of the residents of Timbuktu is much more insidious. With Sharia law imposed, hands can be chopped, daughters taken against their and their parents will…
Do not miss this great film when it comes to a theater at a major metropolis near you at the end of the month. It has its imperfections, but they pale in significance to its elegiac sense of will. After what happened yesterday in Paris, and especially for those confused about the ties between Islam and terrorism or operating under the mistaken belief that Charlie Hebdo's provocations weren't necessary, the film's searing, lucid depiction of innocents rightfully, righteously fighting fundamentalism from within will grip you in horrified empathy.
"Here come those men again. I don't like them", shrugs a twelve-year-old girl, as two gun-toting members of the Islamist group Ansar Dine approach in a jeep. For a while, despite their heavy armoury, the jihadists in Abderrahmane Sissako's latest film are definitely more Four Lions than United 93, singularly failing to strike terror into the local populace. They wander aimlessly with a megaphone demanding that women wear socks at all times, and botch the making of a propaganda video in a scene that could have come straight out of Chris Morris's film. In one scene, a local fishmonger chews them out for demanding she wears gloves while handling fish. I recognised some of that defiance from Hana Makhmalbaf's documentary…
The opening scene shows a group of men firing toward a wild animal as it desperately tries to avoid being taken down by red hot lead. The gunshots pierce the serene stillness of the surrounding land before a facet of modern warfare takes centre stage, Islamic extremists riding their vehicle, circling the perimeter of Timbuktu, capital of Mali.
Just as Katmandu has reminded the world recently that it is indeed a real place, Timbuktu was a city held captive by Islamic fighters back in 2012, which director Abderrahmane Sissako uses to give us an insight into life under their rule. We see this mostly through the eyes of a cattle herder and his young family, witnessing the oppression forced upon…
Powerful film making. Sissako's style is simple and poignant, making the misguided use of music in two of the strongest scenes (the slaying of GPS and the soccer game) all the more jarring and disappointing.
Somewhere beneath the austere, graceful, and beautiful images of Timbuktu lies raging anger towards the situation that this film is protesting against. Sometimes you can feel the anger seethe through in a very pointed way against extremism and the absurdity that it creates. Yet, this film is not a diatribe or a polemic as it could have been. No. Sissako wisely tempers this anger with humor and empathy, allowing the diffuse parts of this film mesh into something greater. A haunting and beautifully realized meditation and exploration of a very real situation from a vantage point that doesn't often get a voice.
Haunting in an almost Malick type fashion. There are images in this film that can be used as…
Abderrahmane Sissako's extraordinary new film tells the story of a cattle herder and his young family who live in a tent on the sand dunes of Timbuktu. They lead a quiet existence, which is disturbed when Jihadists storm the town and attempt to implicate Shira Law throughout the region.
Now admittedly this sounds like a lot of hard work and at times it is a tough watch, but Sissako's masterful direction and lightness of touch make this film feel more like Four Lions (2010) at times.
The acting is superb and the direction like I've mentioned before is akin to seeing a true master at the very top of his game.
Take my word for it, go and see this one. You won't regret it.
Para la colección "adiós moral".
Ryan Gilbey wrote "
This is a film in which small pieces stand in for a daunting and horrifying whole." in The New Statesman and it's a beautifully concise view of the film.
The tardiness of my viewing allowed for some hype to filter though to me and it is only upon reflection that I am able to appreciate the full import of this film.
It is indeed a look at the horrors of one small village, family even, in the knowledge that this is multiplied throughout the territory.
The performances are gorgeously understated and the story is told with heartbreaking pace.
A very humanist film that indicts fundamentalist rule without demonizing the perpetrators. And, the landscapes are quite gorgeous (and the cinematography serves them well). Some threads, especially the elements of mysticism, felt incomplete.
The true strength of Timbuktu is how restrained it is whilst portraying subject matter that is going to cause visceral emotional reactions from the audience, especially due to how it mirrors many events currently making headlines. The movie is a truly human piece of work, with feel good set pieces (the local children rebelling against football being outlawed is a highlight) that help ensure it is not a harrowing or difficult watch, but an intelligent and heartfelt look at how a small community deals with world shattering events.
This is by far the prettiest film I've seen this year so far. Absolutely gorgeous golden hours shots. There are storytelling choices and plot points that didn't make sense to me, but the acting was top notch and the music is incredible so I'm not complaining. Can't wait to watch it again.
Heavy-handed right from the first scene, a tale of abuse imposed upon wild animals and decent peoples of does-this-place-really-existsastan by evil kind of muslims. More interesting film than you could expect from the poster.
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…