Timbuktu (12A)

Directed by Aderrahmane Sissako
Picturehouse, Liverpool
From 29th May 2015

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This film, set in 2012, is very topical to the extreme, given the continued rise to power by IS (Islamic State).

Set in Timbuktu, based in the west African state of Mali, it revolves around the actions of militant Jihadis- the Islamic State is never mentioned - many of them originating from outside the country.

As is the case now, the IS zealots are seen destroying ancient art treasures, persecuting women and enforcing the banning of playing music, playing football - in one amusing scene you watch a group of lads on a football pitch not using a ball but pretending to pass one to each another and even celebrating an imaginary goal - and smoking cigarettes.

They destroy these monuments with relish, as well as innocent gazelles, but embrace the use of mobile phones, cars, video cameras and the internet.

At the centre of the film is a Bedouin family, herdsman Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed) and his wife Satima (Toulou Kiki).

Kidane takes deadly revenge upon a fisherman, who has killed his favourite cow, GPS. This leads to his arrest and trial by the Jihadis.

A major failing about the movie - incredibly it only had a 12A rating - was the simplistic depiction of the ultra-militant aggressors. It did not portray the manic nature of their thirst for bloodletting, the total hypocrisy of their 'message', and their total disdain for women, except as sex slaves.

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