Live Action (Short Subject) Nominees

Currently browsing the "African" category.

Timbuktu

Timbuktu was a very deserving 2015 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign film. The movie was inspired by the real life events of 2012-13 when religious fundamentalists, took over the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, destroying much its cultural heritage in the name of Islam and imposing Sharia law on the inhabitants. (They were ultimately run out.) In the film, we meet these militants as they chase down and shoot gazelles from their jeep and then turn those same guns on a cache of wooden statues, particularly ones of naked women. We find them next strutting around the town with megaphones laying down the law, upsetting the townspeople with their strict-to-the-point-of-ridiculous rules. No music. No soccer. No smoking or drinking. No fun. And women need to be nearly invisible and have zero rights. Needless so say, the locals don’t take kindly to it, including the local imam who shoos the heavily armed Jihadists from his mosque. Director Abderrahmane Sissako contrasts this claustrophobic extremism with the story of a pastoral family living in the dunes just outside town whose life soon intersects with the new order.

War Witch (Rebelle)

I really wish that films nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar were available before the awards were given out, so that just once I could fill out a ballot having seen them all. Only Amour got a big release and a bunch of hoopla! (And the Oscar, not so coincidentally.) Kon-Tiki opens in April. No and A Royal Affair have been around but only in limited release. And I was only able to see War Witch this week via a screener. I realize that if I lived in LA or New York, I could see more films earlier in their “limited releases,” and that they need that Oscar buzz for audiences around the country to venture out, but it makes me wonder how many wonderful small films from foreign lands we in the hinterlands never have a chance to see.