67 user 179 critic

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?


The scene in which the cow was killed with a spear was done by sedating the cow under the supervision of a veterinarian and adding the spear digitally in post production - the animal was not harmed. 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 »


Composed, Arranged and Orchestrated By Amin Bouhafa
© 2014 Universal Music France
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User Reviews

A joy to watch
29 December 2014 | by rubenmSee all my reviews

A film about the daily reality of Islam fundamentalism is a courageous project - even more so when the maker himself is a Muslim. For this reason alone, 'Timbuktu' cannot be praised enough. It will get plenty of international exposure, because this film is the first ever Oscar entry from Mauritania, and luckily it made the Foreign Language shortlist of nine candidates, out of 83 entries.

'Timbuktu' shows how Libyan jihadists invade Mali and turn the lives of the locals upside down. The Malinese are no longer allowed to play music or to smoke cigarettes, the women are obliged to cover their heads when in public, and sharia courts are issuing cruel and undeserved punishments. In spite of all this, the film is not at all harsh or bleak. On the contrary, most scenes show the Malinese living an idyllic life and trying to make the best of the situation. Some scenes are almost hilarious: the jihadists have to cope with serious language barriers to get their message across, they are unable to drive cars and even break their own rules by secretly smoking cigarettes.

Filmed in neighbouring Mauritania, the movie is full of beautiful landscapes, nice buildings and good-looking people. This is exactly what bothered me a little bit: sometimes you have the impression that you're watching a documentary on National Geographic Channel, showing the beauty of Mali. I can't imagine life in this dirt poor country being even half as peaceful and harmonious as is suggested in this film. A little more third world realism would have been appropriate, including the daily struggle for life of people living in extreme poverty.

Nevertheless, the film is a joy to watch, and contains some extremely beautiful scenes. One example is the scene of a football team playing a game without a ball, because it is confiscated by the jihadists. A perfect and original way to show how Muslim fundamentalism can be defeated, against all odds.

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