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Timbuktu (2014)

PG-13 | | Drama | 10 December 2014 (France)
1:53 | Trailer

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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.


Abderrahmane Sissako (screenplay), Kessen Tall (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 28 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »





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


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. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Mauritania | France

Release Date:

10 December 2014 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Timbuktú See more »

Filming Locations:

Mauritania See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$78,544, 6 February 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby 5.1)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Official submission of Mauritania to the best foreign language film category of the 87th Academy Awards 2015. See more »


Omar: Satima?
Satima: I'm listening.
Omar: I'm Abdelkarim's driver. I have a message from him: "He can't do anything to help. It's over".
See more »


Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2016) See more »


The Lake
Composed, Arranged and Orchestrated By Amin Bouhafa
with The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
© 2014 Universal Music France
See more »

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User Reviews

A majestic work of art
12 January 2015 | by joris-nightwalkerSee all my reviews

One of the movies that's still in the running for a "Best Foreign Language Film" Oscar nomination, is Timbuktu. Together with the Estonian Mandariinid it's one of my favorites for this year's Academy Awards, but I'm afraid only one of them will make it to the shortlist and neither of them will eventually win the Oscar. Not while movies like Ida, Turist and Leviathan are their competitors (although I think Timbuktu and Mandariinid are better than those three). The thing about Timbuktu that makes it such a beautiful picture, is its, what I presume, authentic representation of Muslims and the different views on Islamic religion. Spoken in a number of languages, from French and English to Arabic and a wide diversity of African languages (Tamasheq, Bambara and Songhay), Timbuktu shows Westerners a part of the world we almost know nothing about. Apart from judgemental and arrogant claims about the (religious) backwardness of many people there, be they Berber or Bedouin, many people here just don't know what to say about the Northern part of Africa. Director Abderrahmane Sissako gives us lots of stuff to talk and think about (for example the use of "jihad" as on the one hand an inner struggle (the greater jihad) and on the other hand an external holy war which is fought by mujahideen - the second jihad being the one we fear and loathe so much in the West). Not only that, but together with his cinematographer Sofian El Fani (La Vie d'Adèle) he manages to provide us with wonderful visual poetry and exceptional sceneries of south-east Mauritania. While it took some getting used to the narrative and the editing, I was full of awe after enjoying this utterly majestic work of art. Highly recommended!

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