Islamic extremists are the butt of the bone-dry joke in the new drama "Timbuktu," with director Abderrahmane Sissako taking a satiric swipe at the armed fundamentalists who've overtaken the northwestern African desert outpost. The film, one of five vying for a foreign-language Oscar, will be at the Laemmle Royal Theatre for another week, and I would encourage you to make time for this smartly courageous film. It uses the common sense and honor of a local cattle herder to plead the case for rational thought in a world gone mad. In contrast, the armed intruders are idiotic, implementing rules that make no sense — a day spent hunting for the source of a song when music's been banned, a fishmonger facing arrest if she refuses to wear cloth gloves. But the enforcers ignore the dictates that inconvenience them — the ban on smoking, for one. For all of "Timbuktu's" the-emperor-has-no-clothes attitude, the undercurrent remains serious. Sissako never discounts the cost of a repressive regime, but he also exposes it for what it is — absurd.
Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times