For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
3.6
815 Ratings

Timbuktu

Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako
Mauritania, France, 2014
Drama

Synopsis

Timbuktu takes place during the occupation of that city by Islamists. The occupiers want to enforce sharia law, but to their frustration they discover that the city is populated for the most part by quietly observant Muslims, which makes their jihad quite unnecessary.

This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
Timbuktu Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

2014 | 2 wins including: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury

Academy Awards

2015 | Nominee: Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

It’s always tempting to describe art works of obvious contemporary relevance as “timely,” but to do so runs the risk of reducing them to abstract political statements or conversational bargaining chips. Timbuktu is such a film. It is, however, quite clearly one for the ages: an emphatically humanistic work that doesn’t pretend to have answers to the problems it so gracefully depicts.
January 04, 2016
Read full article
Sissako’s feel for the desert landscapes of Africa here is as evocative as John Ford’s was of the American southwest in his great late westerns. It is this effortless combination of docudrama and lyricism that ultimately elevates TIMBUKTU to the status of the transcendent.
June 26, 2015
Read full article
The fact remains that there are few filmmakers alive today wearing a mantle of moral authority comparable to that which Sissako has taken upon himself, and if his film has been met with an extraordinary amount of acclaim, it is because he manages to wear this mantle lightly, and has not confused drubbing an audience with messages with profundity. I can’t imagine the film having been made any other way, by anyone else – and this is one measure of greatness.
May 28, 2015
Read full article

What are people saying?

  • Zane's rating of the film Timbuktu

    Visually stunning with an phenomenal soundscape, this film gives life to the clash of cultures that inevitably comes from religious idiots having any kind of power in society.

  • Florence's rating of the film Timbuktu

    You start the film laughing a lot and get caught more and more between brutal absurdity of fanatism and the drama of the story. a truly simple and strong film.

  • Jimmi HRS's rating of the film Timbuktu

    Sissako's storytelling is concise and sharp, and paired with El Fani's cinematography makes for some truly poetic and beautiful cinema. For me though the true brilliance of this film was its depiction of something rarely seen or noticed in western media. The story of the muslim people and communities who are subjugated to this fascist oppression, by islamic jihadist regimes. For they are the people who truly suffer.

  • El Biffo's rating of the film Timbuktu

    The African people, their culture, their land, their homes, their clothes, their music, all beautifully photographed. But this is a tragic "message" film as well, about the oppression of West African people by Islamic Jihadists. So well-produced, and so convenient for the Western producers, who of course, would never dream of subjugating, murdering, kidnapping and oppressing Tribal Africans. Europeans don't do that!

  • Nadin's rating of the film Timbuktu

    The film has a good premise, but couldn't quite deliver. We aren't given enough time to actually feel the changes that came with fundamentalism. Consequences - like women having to wear gloves - are shown in scenes which are too short to convey a a message. Shots beautiful, but the film doesn't go beyond so-called "first meaning". What we see is what we get, not more, not less. It doesn't appeal to creative thinking.

  • josé neves's rating of the film Timbuktu

    The three previous films I know of Sissako put him, from my point of view, in a prominent level in the current panorama of contemporary cinema. This one, unexpectedly, is much lower: preserving some of his ironic and temporal suspension - like, for example, "La Vie sur Terre" - and "Bamako" 's political simulacrum , apart from the initial and final scenes is a film diluted in a formless intentionality.

  • Daniel S.'s rating of the film Timbuktu

    Great soccer scene and superb scenery. I really can't give an opinion about the rest of the film. Women seem to be the sole people working there, men indulging in less tiring activities like praying, discussing and lecturing. Now why watch Timbuktu if you want to form your own opinion about the local political or social situation? Timbuktu is nothing more than a safe movie. Already forgotten.

  • OFF_FRAME's rating of the film Timbuktu

    In it's best moments, staggeringly poetic and beautiful. In it's worst; naive, preachy and heavy-handed. Timbuktu functions a little like a essay that uses constructed tragedy to explore a religious and ideological viewpoints. 3.5 stars

Related films