Ciné Club
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Ciné Club: Timbuktu (2015)

Seen at the Walker Art Center last winter as a part of an Abderrahmane Sissako retrospective,  we were mesmerized by this cinematographically stunning film about a group of Islamic fundamentalists taking control of the town of Timbuktu… to watch as soon as possible, on a large screen if available…

Here is an article written by the Walker Art Center about Sissako:

“I think for me, cinema, or to make movies, or any act of creation is the research of yourself.” —Abderrahmane Sissako

In his first stop on a US tour, Oscar-nominated director Abderrahmane Sissako comes to the Walker to present this short retrospective. His films are distinguished not only by great formal beauty and poetic imagery but also by humor, profound sympathy with human suffering, and an almost philosophical inquiry into relations between West Africa and the rest of the world.

Although officially labelled a Mauritanian director, Sissako made films in Russia, Tunisia, Angola, and Mali before returning to his mother’s homeland to shoot the masterful Waiting for Happiness(Mauritania, 2002). Since then, his work on films such as Bamako andTimbuktu has been centered on the Sahel region of Africa, but he remains a cosmopolitan practitioner of cinema as a world form. If he has commitments to a certain region and its people, he expresses them very differently than the engaged anticolonial nationalist filmmakers of the previous generation.

All of Sissako’s films show great respect for the difficulty of genuine communication across different cultural spaces and for the complexity of translation. Music is important to cinema in general, but Sissako has been especially brilliant in mobilizing the best of African great music to reinforce his visual imagery. Nearly all of his films also make spectacular use of Africa’s extraordinary creativity with textiles.”

“Passionate and visually beautiful … Timbuktu is a cry from the heart—with all the more moral authority for being expressed with such grace and such care.” —Guardian (UK)

Nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film,Timbuktu is based on factual events of the brief 2012 occupation of the legendary city by religious fundamentalists. The film focuses on the humanistic effects of the conflict on the townspeople. The familiar woes of everyday life and remarkable resistance to a hostile takeover encircle a narrative that follows a herder and his family residing on the outskirts of town. Universal truths of human nature emerge as he experiences an upturned idea of justice following a dispute over his slaughtered prize cow. Cast includes musicians Ibrahim Ahmed, Telawt Walet Bilal, and Fatoumata Diawara. 2014, DCP, in Arabic, Bambara, French, English, Songhay, and Tamasheq with English subtitles, 97 minutes.

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