Watch Timbuktu

"A song for freedom."
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • 7.1  (18,165)
  • 92

Timbuktu is a drama film that was released in 2014, directed by Abderrahmane Sissako. It takes place in the city Timbuktu, located in the West African country, Mali, which was occupied by the jihadist group Ansar Dine in 2012. The film follows the story of a cattle-herding family, as well as the people in their community, who are left struggling to survive in a city where violence and terror have become a daily reality.

The film begins with the arrival of Islamist militants who have taken over the city of Timbuktu. They have imposed a number of strict rules on the population, including a ban on music, smoking, and soccer, and they've set up a court where they issue sentences that are often nonsensical and cruel. The story focuses on a local cattle-herding family headed by Kidane, played by Ibrahim Ahmed, and his wife, Satima, played by Toulou Kiki. The couple lives with their daughter, Toya, and their young shepherd, Issan.

Kidane and his family work together to run their cattle herding business and live their lives as normally as possible despite the chaos and terror that surrounds them. However, things take a turn for the worse when Kidane accidentally kills a fisherman who has attacked one of his cows. The rest of the film explores the aftermath of this incident and how it affects the family and the community as a whole.

As the story progresses, we are introduced to a variety of characters living in the city, each of whom is dealing with the harsh rule of the occupying jihadists in their own way. There's Zabou, a fish seller who is arrested for not wearing gloves; Amadou, a local imam who tries to negotiate with the jihadist leaders; and Abdelkrim, a young man who becomes part of the jihadists' army but has doubts about what he's doing.

One of the most compelling aspects of Timbuktu is the way in which it portrays the everyday lives of its characters under such extreme circumstances. Scenes of day-to-day tasks such as washing, praying, and even talking to one's neighbors take on a new significance when they are carried out against a backdrop of violence and oppression. The film also shows how the jihadists themselves are not a homogenous group, but have factions and leaders who are often just as conflicted as the people they are oppressing.

The film's direction is beautiful and captures the stunning scenery of the desert landscape, as well as the vivid colors and textures of the clothing and decorations worn by the characters. There are moments of quiet contemplation, as well as sudden moments of violence that are portrayed with unflinching realism. The performances are all excellent, with Ibrahim Ahmed and Toulou Kiki in particular standing out for their portrayals of a couple struggling to keep their family together in the face of tragedy.

Overall, Timbuktu is a powerful and affecting film that offers a unique insight into a part of the world that is often overlooked. Its portrayal of life under extremist rule is unflinching, but it is also a film that offers moments of hope and humanity in the midst of darkness. It is a must-see for anyone interested in world cinema or the ongoing conflict in Mali.

Timbuktu is a 2015 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received outstanding reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1 and a MetaScore of 92.

Where to Watch Timbuktu
Timbuktu is available to watch free on Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, The Roku Channel, Amazon and Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent Timbuktu for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (18,165)
  • Metascore