The actors, some professionals, most amateurs recruited from refugee camps, are marvelously natural, their faces glowing with a (perhaps sentimentalized but still captivating) grace. The director, Abderrahmane Sissako, who grew up in Mali, has a keen sense for striking images and storytelling. The French-Tunisian cinematographer, Sofian El Fani, ekes vibrant colors from a desert and a rug. I first saw Timbuktu at the Angelika in New York City and was struck by how gorgeous it looked.
Cohen Media Group’s 1080p transfer captures most of this beauty—the piercing light, the waves of sand, the texture of those rugs—but not all: The colors aren’t quite as saturated as the original’s; long-shot figures and landscapes are a bit thinner. But if I hadn’t seen it in a theater, I would have no complaints.
The extra feature shows Sissako in a very interesting interview at the New York Film Festival.
Studio: Cohen Media Group, 2014
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Length: 96 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Starring: Ibrahim Ahmed, Abel Jafri, Toulou Kiki