Alongside Citizenfour, Timbuktu might be the most urgently topical film of the year, but unlike Citizenfour, Timbuktu is not a documentary. This narrative film, the latest by Malian auteur Abderrahmane Sissako, was inspired by a 2012 entry in a local Malian newspaper about a couple being stoned to death for having children out of wedlock. Sissako’s interlocking stories of Timbuktu residents bring texture to tragically frequent headlines chronicling the rise and bloody tactics of foreign jihadists on the African continent.
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