I saw the French/Mauretanian film Timbuktu last night, and it was one of those unforgettable experiences, that will just linger with you for the longest time. You must absolutely go see it, if you get the chance. It is still on in a few places in Copenhagen, if you are quick. It is stunningly beautiful to watch (and brutal, be prepared for that), and is really worth seeing on the big screen.

It is the story about what happens to peaceful civilized life in a small West African town, when islamic fundamentalists take over law and order, resulting in - among many other things - music, singing and football being prohibited. You could think a painful topic like this, would result in a film filled with rage and chaos, but it is a quiet, almost matter-of-fact story, that lets the events unfold (and tragedy approach) in a slow pace, without noise or any outer big drama. And that makes it so much more powerful.

I promise you, there are faces and landscapes in that film you will never forget.
Also, that it will break your heart, but in a necessary and most relevant way.

You can see the official trailer here - but I recommend you simply go see the whole thing, asap!

There is a wonderful scene in the film, where the village boys play football, but without the ball itself (thus making it non-football, and therefore acceptable?), to mock the Police Islamique. In the beginning of it, you see a youngster being sentenced to forty whip lashes, for playing football, and then you see them playing - or not playing!. I've had to see that scene again and again, and you can too, right here.

One of the most wonderful young actors I have seen for a long time, is the 12 year old Layla Walet Mohamed, who plays Toya, one of the main characters. I googled her, and found a surprising story.

While searching for actors, the director Abderrahmane Sissako visited a refugee camp in Mauretania. He was actually looking for a younger girl, but this particular, much older girl just keept popping up everywhere, and Sissako was persuaded to change the script, simply to create a role for her.

She is so beautiful and touching and you simply cannot forget her face. I hope that her acting debut will be a step towards a proud future for young Layla!

Music plays a very important role in the film, and  to get a taste of what the jihadists forbid in the story (as well as in real life), I will end this heartfelt recommendation with the wonderful Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, who also plays a role in the film, as a girl who gets in terrible trouble for singing. 

Listen to her here, from the official soundtrack: 'Timbuktu Fasso'

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