Timbuktu – 8

If, as I do, you want a foreign film to immerse you and teach you about an alien culture, then Timbuktu will satisfy you and more. There is a plot of sorts, but the film is more a series of vignettes, showing what life is like for the unfortunate residents of this city in Mali which has been taken over by a fundamentalist jihadist group. The overlords don’t speak the local language or observe local customs, applying their version of sharia’, which results in a woman lashed for her music, a couple stoned to death for adultery, a woman abducted for marriage and the main character executed for accidentally killing a neighbor. We get the feeling that everyone we see, however fleetingly, is a real person, even the jihadis. The landscape is beautifully photographed, and everyone moves at the same desert-slow pace. With music forbidden and dialogue minimal, we fall into a kind of trance as we experience life in Timbuktu.

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