“Misery in Abderrahmane Sissako‘s Timbuktu, which is set in the Timbuktu region of Mali, a mostly barren African nation that few people in this country have heard of, is very hard-core. Shot in Mauritania, it’s about the 2012 occupation of Timbuktu by Ansar Dine, a relentlessly purist, wacked-out Islamic militia dedicated to enforcing Sharia law and order. The film was partly inspired by a public stoning of an unmarried couple in Aguelhok, in eastern Mali, but that’s just another pebble in the pond. I think we all know about the pitch-black souls of nutter Islamics by now.

Timbuktu is in no way boring. Sissako knows how to tell a riveting tale and keep you engrossed, but good God. This is a film about dirt-poor hardscrabble types living in various states of misery and deprivation, powerless, at times terrified and always subject to rigid judgments and brutalities. An awful way to live. If there’s an uglier, crueler, more inhumane, more rancid belief system or culture than Islamic fundamentalism, I’d like to know what it is. The earth needs to be absolutely cleansed of this scourge. Welcome, western audiences, to life in one of the worst ideological desert prison camps ever created.” — from my 11.18 review, titled :Hell In The Desert.”