Of this year’s five Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language feature I’ve seen three of them — Ida, Leviathan and Wild Tales — and while Ida is the perceived front-runner this is a category that can always offer a bit of a surprise, one such surprise just might be Abderrahmane Sissako‘s Timbuktu, which Cohen Media will begin distributing on January 28 (find theaters here) and have just released the first official domestic trailer.
Here’s the synopsis:
Not far from the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, now ruled by the religious fundamentalists, 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.