Timbuktu – Mali

Feature Film

  • Date: Thursday –  17th March 2016
  • Time: 8pm
  • Venue: Museum Garden

The city of Timbuktu is under the occupation of Islamists bearing a jihadist black flag. Kidane is a cattle herder who lives outside of the city. One day, one of his cows accidentally damages the net of a fisherman. The enraged fisherman kills the cow. Kidane confronts the fisherman and accidentally shoots him dead. The Islamists arrest Kidane and, per sharia law, demand a blood money payment of 40 cattle to the fisherman’s family. As Kidane has only seven cattle, he is sentenced to death. His wife shows up at his execution with a pistol, and as they run to each other the husband attempts to stop her. Mistaking this for an escape attempt, the executioners gun them both down.

Throughout the film there are subsidiary scenes showing the reaction of the population to Islamists’ rule, which they view as absurd. A female fishmonger must wear gloves even when selling fish. Music is banned; a woman is sentenced to 40 lashes for singing, and 40 lashes for being in the same room as a man not of her family. A couple are buried up to their necks in sand and stoned to death for adultery. Young men play football with an imaginary ball as sports are banned. A local imam tries to curb the Islamists’ excesses with sermons.

The failure of the occupiers to live up to their own rules is hinted at, for instance when one of them is seen smoking a cigarette. Another group of jihadists from France spend their days talking about their favorite football teams.

Characters speak in Tamasheq, Bambara, Arabic, French, and on a few occasions English. The mobile phone is an important means of communication.

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The Amakula International Film Festival is presented by
Bayimba Cultural Foundation in partnership with The DOEN Foundation, Africalia, Kampala Film School and the Uganda Museum.