One observes a few facts and actions, in the village of Timbuktu; This village is governed recently by a militia jihadist. This one, under the guise of religion, imposes on the inhabitants various strange rules of enslavement, takes place in the judge and executioner of a population that has not asked….
The film contrasts the everyday drama.
In the first part of the film, Abderrahmane Sissako allows its camera to navigate between multiple stories without a story or sympathy in favor of an such, for the sole purpose of showing the daily life of this small town.
This first hour is the most successful because it seeks at all cost to avoid any manicheism in the description of this daily. Better, it focuses on small moments without ever precisely, look no sensational.
Three jihadists who discuss football, a priest who explains the politeness and the respect for the jihadists, a dredge, paradoxically, shy, a group of friends who are a beef of music, “original,” which speaks to his chickens…
The counterpoint exciting of this part, is to contrast in these scenes this supposed law of god, to God precisely, and constantly contradict the authority of self-proclaimed jihadists. An imam, the people, the jihadists themselves have questions about the immutability of the regime quite totalitarian. This gives rise to scenes both tragic and comic, completely integrated in the reasoning of questioning proposed by the film.
The small exception will come of Kidane and his family, the central characters, but unfortunately too scripted, which we can guess the fate without a struggle in both their happiness and their status as an ideal family.
These little moments never seem to seek to show or prove anything, then the introduction, which showed in particular the award of a hostage of a militia in another, promised something more political.
They build instead a kind of bubble somehow peaceful in the midst of a violence who are deaf, something poetic and violent, sweet and realistic, a mix of emotions delicately.
Two distinct parts separated by a tragic event – the death of a man, the catalyst of a violence hitherto in the background.
This sequence, moreover, is admirably put in an image, which also marks the tipping film in an atmosphere much heavier and introduces quite noticeable (unfortunately) purely scriptwriting to push the events up to the nightmare.
The horror appears, then, on many fronts, in many forms. First, the bad luck, then the power of beliefs, the harshness of men towards others, and shows finally how brutal and realistic..
“The film contrasts the everyday life and drama, but misses its tipping point and ends up losing his audience.”
If it has the consequence of letting a few memorable images, it also breaks the purpose of reflection conducted in the first part of the film, or the objective observation of the different parties gave more back to the viewer.
This choice, cinematically, might work, but Abderrahmane Sissako made a huge error of timing in offering the time of failover too early. He hesitates a few minutes between continuing ethnological so exciting, and then decides to clearly define the perpetrators and collateral victims (or volunteers), oppression and the oppressed, strength to the line sensationalistic, since it is one of its primary goals*, and loses his audience in the offensive.
This film is a little reminiscent of the way in which Kechiche’s L’ESQUIVE (or Kassovitz’s HATE) envoûtait his spectator before the bully, describing at length a point of view before a context.
This, of course, must eventually be brought to the surface and remind her violence for a better print in our consciousness, hence the importance of choosing their transfer point with accuracy, since it is from the that comes force of suspense, to the memorable character. Perhaps this is the limit of this film and the affirmation of the talent of some directors, a film that manipulates probably a little too much of its viewer, creating a close before the break.
* Abderrahmane Sissako explains that this film was motivated in part by a particular event which has marked it (the stoning of a couple) this event is shown in the film, with all its brutality.
• Achievement : Abderrahmane Sissako
• Screenplay : Abderrahmane Sissako, Kessen Tall
• Main actors : Ibrahim Ahmed, Toulou KIKI, Abel Jafri, Fatou Diawara
• Country of origin : France
• Output : unknown
• Duration : 1h40mn
• Distributor : The Covenant
• Synopsis : One observes a few facts and actions, in the village of Timbuktu; This village is governed recently by a militia jihadist. This one, under the guise of religion, imposes on the inhabitants various strange rules of enslavement, takes place in the judge and executioner of a population that has not asked….