By Lana Jean Mitchell
Timbuktu (pronounced tawn book TOO), Mali, Africa, has a reputation for being the site of the world’s first university; for being a place of scholars and scholarship, and for being a place of mysteries. I’ve heard this about the city, since the first time I heard the name. In 2015 it also became a venue for the production of a modern day film, Timbuktu directed by Abderrahmane Sissaka.
Produced by Orange Studio and Cohen Media Group, the 96 minute movie has been called “a masterwork, an extraodinary work” by film critic Richard Brody of The New Yorker. The appearance of the running gazelle, at the beginning of the film sets the romantic theme of the love between Shepherd and Satima, and the pain and lost of the people of the city of Timbuktu, who are occupied by Muslim Jihadists.
Toya the young daughter of Kidane and Satima, also looses her family when her father and mother are killed in the city by the Jihadists. Satima has run to the city to bail Kidane out of jail after he is arrested for killing a fisherman, and is sentenced to death by the courts.
Sissaka uses English subtitles,and some French and English while keeping the languages spoken by the native actors in the film.
Timbuktu, rated PG 13, was nominated for an Academy Award, British Academy Film Awards and a San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award and best foreign language film of 2015.