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.
To many, Timbuktu is a far away land of mystery and untouched beauty. A comforting notion to be sure. Unfortunately, it saddens me to report that it is a frighteningly tangible place, susceptible to corruption. A place now of hypocrisy, violence, and tragedy. The jihadists explored here are not made out to be straight up villains. It is sometimes the most rigid in their beliefs that are capable of utmost uncertainty. At birth, the essence of humanity is imbued to every last one of us. Whether you choose to reject it is up to you.
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…
Fascinating look into a world seldom seen. Comedy turns to tragedy.
Maybe the biggest stroke of genius for this film was titling it Timbuktu, which is both an American idiomatic short-hand for "the middle of nowhere" and a very real settlement in Mali. The entire film splits that difference between parable and highly specific state of the union. It's too bad that I watch this stuff by myself on Saturday mornings; it would be interesting to discuss such a litmus test with people from different backgrounds. It could just as easily be viewed as Rick Perry's nightmare of sharia law as it is an empathetic Amnesty International flyer.
To me, Sissako's camera is most successful when it's got the small brushes out, painting real encounters, such as the heart-vaporizing scene of…
The diaspora esc film shows an insight to people who are not really given a voice in popular cinema. The Jihad controls problems are solved through slightly comic ways such as the invisible football
"They're singing praise to the Lord and His prophet. Shall I arrest them?"
One of the problems with theocracies, if not the main one, is that its laws are often subject to abuse and misinterpretation by enlightened ones who occupy positions of power and judgement, leading to tyrannical regimes supported by fanatics who claim their primitive culture to justify them.
With beautiful scenery of the Niger river and the Mali desert, this is the reality which we are invited to testify in 'Timbuktu'.
It is difficult to find adequate words to describe this masterpiece. A stunning, thought provoking and visually gorgeous film. I have seen Bamako a previous film by Mr Sissako and liked it very much but this is a truly wondrous movie.
Integer en subtiel, soms naar het vervelende toe, maar deze film gaat heel lang nazinderen.
While it's beautifully shot and contains some memorable image sequences, the story is so disjointed it plays more like a series of vignettes though it does not appear to have been intended that way. It's missing enough explanatory context that it seems to contradict itself at times and this unevenness prevents its story of fanatical theocracy from really driving home.
The militant Islamic fundamentalism of groups such as Islamic State has well established itself as the great antagonist of modern Western war cinema, films such as American Sniper (2014) and The Hurt Locker (2008) and the television series Homeland being the most high-profile examples where the ideology of these fundamentalist organisations is regarded as a danger to be subdued at its foreign source, in order to prevent its incursion onto domestic soil. But what about those Middle-Eastern territories already enduring the governance of IS and its relations? There are few, if any, cinematic examples where life under their rule is explored in any detail. Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako has offered such a perspective with Timbuktu, a film that humanistically articulates what life is like in a Malian city occupied by a group of jihadists.
Full review at www.worldcinemaguide.com/timbuktu/
Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…