Cohen Media Group acquired U.S. rights to competition title "Timbuktu" after its world premiere at the 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival last week.
The latest feature from Abderrahmane Sissako’s, his 5th solo directorial effort, "Timbuktu" was inspired by the real-life story of the 2012 stoning of a young unmarried couple, by Islamists, in a Northern Mali town called Aguelhok. Their crime? They weren’t officially married, and thus, in the eyes of their executioners, were committing a crime against divine law. That summer, the couple was brought to the center of the town, placed in holes in the ground, and stoned to death in front of hundreds of watchers – a horribly tragic incident that drew international media attention, and motivated at least one filmmaker to address on film.
"Aguelhok is neither Damascus nor Teheran," Sissako said in a pre-production statement over a year ago, adding that, "and in no way am I looking to over-emotionalize these events for the purposes of a moving film. What I do want to do is bear witness as a filmmaker. Because I will never be able to say I didn’t know. And because of what I know now, I must tell this story – in the hope that no child may ever have to learn this same lesson in the future. That their parents could die, simply because they love each other."
The film stars Ibrahim Ahmed, Toulou Kiki, Abel Jafri and Fatoumata Diawara.
After its first public screening at Cannes, the film reportedly received a 10-minute-long standing ovation.
Overall, reviews to the film were mostly favorable (some overwhelmingly so), which is obviously a good thing, and only makes me even more anxious to see it eventually!
In the meantime, the first English-subtitled clip from the film will have to suffice (prior clips we’ve shared were all in French).