In Northern Mali, Kidane (Ahmed), his wife Satima (Kiki) and their daughter Toya (Mohamed) live a simple life in the desert herding cattle and goats. But Islamic fundamentalists arrive in the area, destroying property, laying down edicts and enforcing bans. Satima is told to wear a headscarf, and a young woman named Fatou (Diawara) is flogged for singing. As the jihadists impose Sharia law, Kidane is swept up in a tragic encounter with a fisherman.
Sissako’s stark condemnation of intolerance and persecution comes wrapped in a heartfelt package of humanity and empathy. DP Sofiane El Fani showcases the stunning beauty of the land even as violence and fanaticism start to plague the countryside. Performances are understated, and all the more affecting for it. With a story drawn from real life, this lean, deceptively straightforward drama packs a wallop. Winner of 7 Cesar Awards, this was the first ever Oscar submission from Mauritania. Travel to “Timbuktu.”