'Timbuktu' a compelling exploration of extremism's absurdities

January 30, 2015 1:11 PM

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The intriguingly unorthodox "Timbuktu," one of five films vying for a foreign-language Oscar, is a provocative, sometimes satiric drama about the sort of Islamic extremists who make life, especially in the outer reaches, so treacherous these days.

Though the film, set around 2012, is specific to the country of Mali and particular to the city of Timbuktu in the days just after jihadists took control of the region, director Abderrahmane Sissako crafts a universal indictment of repression in the absurd policies and atrocious realities of such re...

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