Amazing film: Timbuktu

Not far from the ancient, north African city of Timbuktu life is hard.  Proud cattle herder Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed aka Pino) tries to live peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima (Toulou Kiki), his daughter Toya (Layla Walet Mohamed), and Issan (Mehdi Ag Mohamed), their twelve-year-old shepherd.


In the town the newly arrived, religious fundamentalists strut, with their heavy weapons and driving around in the Toyota, four wheel pickups and motorbikes. Using megaphones they shout their new religious decrees – music banned, cigarettes banned, soccer banned and women must be covered and wear socks and gloves at all times.

We see the local iman, the woman selling fish and others gently and with much dignity resist with dignity.  We see the jihadis taking control – hunting down the source of music, punishing people for small digressions.  We see them as hypocrites – sometimes brutal. as they tighten the screws, – sometimes stupid, the scene where they try, incompetently, to make a propaganda video is an absolute hoot .

Life is harsh and this is reflected as Kidane ends up in a bitter conflict with a neighbour.  This ends up being tried under the very narrow, uncompromising, fundamentalist view of sharia law.  I found this section interesting as Kidane’s reaction to these tragic circumstances is very different to that of someone brought up in a western culture.

The location is often very beautiful.  The quiet dignity of local people inspiring.  The cinematography good.  An insight into a very different world and a help to understand the situation of those unfortunate enough to live in an area occupied by ISIS, jihadis or other fundamentalists.

On limited release at present.



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