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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Timbuktu [Blu-ray]


(Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014)


Also available, on Blu-ray, from Cohen Media in North America:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Les Films du Worso

Video: Artificial Eye



Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:35:49.875 

Disc Size: 32,146,480,388 bytes

Feature Size: 30,504,230,976 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 10th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio French | Arabic | Bambara | English | Songhay 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio French | Arabic | Bambara | English | Songhay 3018 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3018 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (burned-in)



Theatrical Trailer (1:53)
Timbuktu 'Fasso' Music Clip (3:19)





Description: Passionate, humanistic and enormously powerful, Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako's Timbuktu was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards and screened in competition for the "Palme d Or" at Cannes Film Festival 2014. Based on the forceful takeover of Mail in 2012, Timbuktu is a searing and extraordinary fable about the dangers of religious extremism that positions Sissako at the forefront of African cinema.



The Film:

Abderrahmane Sissako's drama Timbuktu tells the story of Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed), a cattle herder who lives in the mountains outside the titular city with his wife and children. They keep a distance from the religious fundamentalists who control the town, and also grow more and more severe in their leadership as time passes. However, one day the family is forced to confront the growing terror head-on.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

The blend of horror and absurdity is embodied in the character of a Haitian woman (Kettly NoŽl), a refugee from the 2010 earthquake, a voodoo priestess who wears long flowing clothes and carries a pet rooster under her arm. In one scene, she casts a spell on Abdelkerim with a small cloth bracelet that causes him to go into a tai-chi chicken dance; the dance is intercut with glimpses of a young couple, buried up to their necks, as they are stoned to death for adultery.

More than anything, Timbuktu is a beautiful film, shot in long, beautifully composed takes by cinematographer Sofiane El Fani (Blue Is the Warmest Colour). The world of the reddish desert, the limestone houses and the people’s flowing clothes, suggest a harmony with nature that is utterly at odds with the foreign fundamentalists with their confusion of accents and loud technology. Sissako’s point, while never heavy-handed, is hard to miss: Traditional Muslims are among the world’s biggest victims of Islamic militarism.

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Timbuktu was shot with the Arri Alexa HD camera and looks to have a very pleasing transfer to Blu-ray from Artificial Eye.  It's solidly in dual-layered territory with a max'ed out bitrate. Colors are passive and true. The 1080P supports solid contrast exhibiting healthy detail and some minor depth in the 2.39:1 frame.  It's pristinely clean there are really no flaws with the rendering. This Blu-ray provides an impressive presentation of this gorgeous film.


















Audio :

The AE Blu-ray of Timbuktu offers a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3018 kbps. It has hints of separation but everything is of a subtle nature with only a couple of more aggressive instances (gunfire). There is also a 2.0 channel linear PCM stereo track ay 2304 kbps. The Amin Bouhafa score sounds wonderfully gentle in lossless. Nothing but positives here for the audio transfer as well. There are, unfortunately, burned-in, English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

Just a trailer and a very pleasant music clip on this Artificial Eye Blu-ray release.



Great film. As well as being visually stunning - it exposes some socially relevant hypocrisy but leaves us with a positive message of hope. The Artificial Eye Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation. For fans or world cinema this is easy to put in the 'don't hesitate' category for digital librarians everywhere. Highly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

August 15th, 2015

Also available, on Blu-ray, from Cohen Media in North America:


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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