January 30th, 2015



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A cattle herder and his family who reside in the dunes of Timbuktu find their quiet lives -- which are typically free of the Jihadists determined to control their faith -- abruptly disturbed.

Release Year: 2014

Rating: 7.3/10 (969 voted)

Critic's Score: 83/100

Director: Abderrahmane Sissako

Stars: Ibrahim Ahmed, Abel Jafri, Toulou Kiki

Not far from the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, proud cattle herder Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed aka Pino) lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima (Toulou Kiki), his daughter Toya (Layla Walet Mohamed), and Issan (Mehdi Ag Mohamed), their twelve-year-old shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined to control their faith. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. The women have become shadows but resist with dignity. Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences. Kidane and his family are being spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu. But their destiny changes abruptly.

Writers: Abderrahmane Sissako, Kessen Tall

Ibrahim Ahmed - Kidane (as Ibrahim Ahmed dit Pino)
Abel Jafri - Abdelkerim
Toulou Kiki - Satima
Layla Walet Mohamed - Toya
Mehdi A.G. Mohamed - Issan
Hichem Yacoubi - Djihadiste
Kettly Noël - Zabou
Fatoumata Diawara - La chanteuse
Adel Mahmoud Cherif - L'Imam
Salem Dendou - Le chef djihadiste
Mamby Kamissoko - Djihadiste
Yoro Diakité - Djihadiste
Cheik A.G. Emakni - Omar
Zikra Oualet Moussa - Tina
Weli Cleib - Juge

Country: France, Mauritania

Language: French, Arabic, Bambara, English, Songhay

Release Date: 10 December 2014

Filming Locations: Mauritania

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

First ever submission of Mauritania to the best foreign language film category of the Academy Awards. See more »

User Review


Rating: 10/10

I saw many excellent films at The Toronto Film Festival. This one really stayed with me. I am not a person who can tolerate visually violent movies and this move respected me as an audience member. I cannot remember a movie with more captivating images which resonated, characters I continue to think about and visuals which prompted me to reconsider my relationship with history and other nations as well as with myself. That sounds kind of major. Suffice to say that I recommend this movie to anyone who would like an excellent story simply told which is both moving and a window on another world. The story is about creeping fascism and the way in which human beings resist heroically inroads against them which demean them. Despite the heavy subject matter, I found this film incredibly uplifting. This is a rare opportunity to see a film which depicts the complicated and sometimes frightening world we live in but with a sense of hope.

I tend to be a rom-com type. It surprised me to relish a film about war. It is not a film without heartache. It is a film which is both inspired and is inspiring. Most of the lead characters are not professional actors. This shocked me. I cry to remember some scenes, but with gratitude!


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