Set in a village outside Timbuktu, after the jihadist occupation of northern Mali in 2012, “Timbuktu” turns of a Kidane, a goat and cattle herder and father of a family who accidently kills a man, and is subjected to punishment according to the fundamentalists’ interpretation of sharia law.
Playing early in competition, “Timbuktu” received mostly upbeat reviews, Variety, in one of the most positive, calling the film “a stunningly shot condemnation of intolerance and its annihilation of diversity, told in a way that clearly denounces without resorting to cardboard perpetrators.”
“Timbuktu” is produced by Sylvie Pialat at Paris-based Les Films du Worso. Pialat, who is behind last year’s Alain Guiraudie’s Un Certain Regard winner “Stranger by the Lake,” won the 2014’s Toscan du Plantier award for France’s best producer.
Negotiated by industry vet John Kochman, CMG exec VP, and Camille Neel, head of international sales at Paris-based Le Pacte, the U.S deal was announced Saturday midday, as anticipation builds up to Saturday evening’s Cannes competition awards ceremony.
“’Timbuktu’ is a movie that finds the raw, emotional heart in a political conflict and holds it up to the light,” said Kochman.
He added: “Abderrahmane Sissako’s calm, objective eye paints characters who are all-too-real performing acts both heroic and hard to understand. He truly is one of Africa’s great filmmakers and Timbuktu is a masterpiece of storytelling, filmmaking, and human compassion. We are proud to be bringing it to a wider audience in America.”
Neel said Le Pacte was “very much look forward to collaborating with Cohen Media Group on ‘Timbuktu.’ “Charles and his team have shown great enthusiasm for the film; they immediately grasped that it was an important film for the meaningful message it carries as well as the artistic accomplishment it represents,” added Neel.
Le Pacte and Cohen Media Group previously worked together on Claude Lanzmann’s documentary feature “The Last of the Injust.”