A cattle herder and his family living peacefully on the edge of the Sahara find their quiet lives disrupted by jihadist militants in the Oscar-nominated TIMBUKTU, the new stunningly rendered film from world cinema master Abderrahmane Sissako. The prize-winning drama arrives on Blu-ray and DVD from Cohen Media Group on June 23, 2015.
Not far from the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, proud cattle herder Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed dit Pino) lives quietly in the dunes with his wife Satima (Toulou Kiki), daughter Toya (Layla Walet Mohamed) and Issan (Mehdi A.G. Mohamed), their 12-year-old shepherd. Their daily existence may be no different from the way their ancestors lived centuries earlier. But in town, the people are suffering, powerless and defenseless, from the reign of terror imposed by the jihadist militants who have taken over the city determined to control the faith and lives of all its inhabitants.
Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. Women and girls are particular targets of the religious fundamentalists, with whippings a common punishment for such infractions as singing or simply being in the same room as a man. Every day, the new improvised courts issue absurd and tragic sentences. Kidane and his family have been spared the frightening chaos that prevails in Timbuktu, but suddenly their destiny changes and Kidane must face the new incomprehensible rules of the foreign occupiers.
TIMBUKTU, a Cohen Media Group theatrical release, was nominated for the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film. It won two prizes at the Cannes Film Festival and received seven French César Awards, including Best Film, among many other awards and nominations.
TIMBUKTU has achieved a remarkable 99 percent rating on the film review site Rotten Tomatoes. The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody called it “an extraordinary film.” Joe Williams of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said, “Director Abderrahmane Sissako, a Muslim from neighboring Mauritania, has made a movie that is worthy of comparisons on several levels to Terrence Malick’s wheat-field tragedy Days of Heaven.” Lisa Kennedy of the Denver Post wrote: “The performances are hushed and memorable. Cinematographer Sofian El Fani captures the beauty of this desert land. Amine Bouhafa’s score is its own act of gorgeous grace and defiance.”
“A transcendent political poem as intellectually rigorous as it is beautiful,” wrote the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Tirdad Derakhshani. Stephen Holden of The New York Times called the film “breathtakingly beautiful.” Anita Katz of the San Francisco Examiner said Sissako is “an emerging star in African and world cinema … a talent every film lover should note.” And Sight & Sound‘s Geoff Andrew said Sissako is “undoubtedly one of the most interesting and ambitious writer-directors working in film today, and quite possibly one of the best.”
Cohen Media Group’s Blu-ray and DVD editions of TIMBUKTU both feature extensive bonus material, including an interview with director and co-writer Abderrahmane Sissako.