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Conflict and Controversy in Small Cinemas


Edited By Janina Falkowska and Krzysztof Loska

This book examines small cinemas and their presentation of society in times of crisis and conflict from an interdisciplinary and intercultural point of view. The authors concentrate on economic, social and political challenges and point to new phenomena which have been exposed by film directors. They present essays on, among others, Basque cinema; gendered controversies in post-communist small cinemas in Slovakia and Czech Republic; ethnic stereotypes in the works of Polish filmmakers; stereotypical representation of women in Japanese avant-garde; post-communist political myths in Hungary; the separatist movements of Catalonia; people in diasporas and during migrations. In view of these timely topics, the book touches on the most serious social and political problems. The films discussed provide an excellent platform for enhancing debates on politics, gender, migration and new aesthetics in cinema at departments of history, sociology, literature and film.

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6. The image of living of local people in the film Timbuktu: Between the literal and the symbol (Paulina Cichoń)

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Paulina Cichoń

Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology,

University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland

6. The image of living of local people in the film Timbuktu: Between the literal and the symbol

Abstract: This chapter is an analysis of the Abderrahmane Sissako latest movie Timbuktu in the perspective of symbolic and interpretive anthropology. The author analyzes the meanings and symbols referring to myths, African traditional beliefs and contemporaneity hidden in the poetics of images. This analysis in view of a deeper cultural understanding ends with a conclusion that Timbuktu carries a universal content: it speaks to us, but also it says something about us.

Keywords: Timbuktu, Abderrahmane Sissako, interpretive anthropology, symbol, myth, African culture, terrorism


Vivian Sobchack, film theoretician writing on the phenomenology of cinema, in one of her latest book says that:

Whether or not we go to the movies… we are all part of moving-image culture and we live cinematic and electronic lives. Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to claim that none of us can escape daily encounters – both direct and indirect – with the objective phenomena of photography, cinematic, televisual and computer technologies and the network of communication and texts they produce. It is also not an extravagance to suggest in the most profound, socially pervasive, and yet personal way, these objective encounters transform us as embodied subject1.

In other words, “moving-image culture” has an enormous impact on our daily life. Not only does it affect our imagination, but it also defines what is important and what is not. It sets the trends and living standards and influences our beliefs, opinions and identity – the way we see “Ourselves” and “The Others.” What should be emphasized– texts that contemporary media produce “transform us as ← 85 | 86 → embodied subjects.” This statement provokes the question “how deeply can this transformation change individuals and society”; in fact, this is an important question about the role of “moving-image culture” in general – can it be a powerful tool for emancipation or does it rather strengthen stereotypes and exclusion? In this chapter, I would like to look at the story of local people told by Abderrahmane Sissako – a Mauritanian director, whose all cinematographic works aim at eliciting the shared destiny of Africans in the present, a destiny linked to a deterritorialized identity2. As Douglas Kelner notes:

Media culture can be an impediment to democracy to the extent that it reproduces reactionary discourses, promoting racism, sexism, ageism, classism, and other forms of prejudice. But media culture can also advance the interests of oppressed groups if it attacks such things as racism or sexism, or at least undermines them with more positive representations of race and gender3.

The story that Abderrahmane Sissako tells in Timbuktu, his latest film nominated for an Oscar, fulfills this second role mentioned in the previous quotation – that art is the way to create a universal language, common for every human being. Despite the fact that the plot is set in the exotic context of Mali, the director translates the events in the film in such a poetic and convincing way that the lives of the protagonists and the hardships they go through are convincing and effective in the emotional power they represent. Thus, his work, using the term proposed by Mary Louise Pratt, can be named as an “autoetnography”4 – voices from another world. Global/local, center/periphery, national/transnational, outsiders/insiders, “postcolonial identity,” the making of homes away of homes, language barriers – all of these transcultural predicaments for the modernity are contemplated in Sissako movies. This dilemma is close to contemporary anthropology as it postulates a more reflective and deeper, cultural understanding of the identities in the context of globalization5. The question is: what new anthropological perspective← 86 | 87 → can be provided to film’s interpretation or to what extent can a movie be an interesting material to research for anthropology? The simplest answer seems to be that cinema is a part of culture. As noted by Aleksander Jackiewicz, precursor of anthropology of film in Poland:

The material of the film are the images of registered reality… In this material, not only in ways of operating them, there are a lot of ‘traces’ of man, his world, culture. So literally impressed human fate in work, with all the biological, natural characteristic, there is in no art. If anthropology is one of the forms of our kind’s awareness, the film can be valuable material for her6.

Anthropological perspective can also be valuable in interpretation, because of:

…specific bipolar nature of anthropological perception simultaneously focused on the archaics, the structure of long duration, and the contemporary. In this case too we are not dealing with the blurring of differences and extremities, just as in the equally concise definition of ethnography: Ethnography is a science about that, which connects people of different societies, cultures and epochs7.

Taking the above statements into account, the aim of this chapter is to look at the film Timbuktu not only as a record of contemporaneity but foremost to show what eternal mythological motifs and deep symbolic structures are hidden behind the poetics of images. In other words, what happened on the screen – the sensual experiencing of the actual perception of things (literal) and what goes beyond the frame of the movie and leads to something else (symbol).

In the “real” and symbolic worlds

When in 2012 the eyes of the world turned to the Olympic Games in London, in one of local newspapers Sissako read about the public execution of the woman and the man who were sentenced to death by stoning for having children outside wedlock – one of the heaviest sins according to the terrorist organization Ansar al-Dine. Ansar Dine (Ançar Dine, Ansar al-Din, Ansar ul-Din) is an armed Islamist movement of the Salafi-jihadi strain, formed toward the end of 2011 by a veteran Tuareg rebel leader of 1990s named Iyad ag Ghaly. Ansar Dine fought in 2012 along with the National Liberation Movement of Azawad (MNLA) in the uprising in Mali. However, the Ansar al-Din in contrast to MNLA hadn’t ← 87 | 88 → fought for the independence of Azwad but to establish Sharia law in Mali. In 2012, the organization took hostage most cities in Mali, including the historical city Timbuktu8. The public execution of the couple became a direct inspiration for Abderrahmane Sissako to portray life under terror experienced every day. As the director says in one of the interviews:

Their execution was posted online and this unspeakable atrocity took place without the media or the world noticing. This couple whose names we don’t even know became a symbol. There is little interest in a tragedy that happens so far away, but not to pay attention would be to ignore that the earth is round; what happens far away isn’t that far from home. People say: it’s a scandal, why aren’t people talking about this but they don’t know what to do about it. I am one of those people that complains that no one is exposing such horrors but I’m also an artist, a filmmaker and my role is to be a conduit for some of that collective conscience of rebellion9.

Someone might think that the film will be another brutal drama about barbarian terrorism and its victims. Mostly, in media discourse, the phenomenon of religious terrorism and the heinous actions that it carries is considered in the context of numbers, places and new attacks. The numbers frighten and evoke a sense of fear and terror in us. We are overwhelmed by news about furious people, who in the name of religion dedicate lives to taking away the right to life of innocent victims. So, it is a discourse based on what Said called figuration – “we-they”10. In the world dominated by the media, this opposition seems to be simple – terrorists are Said’s “they” – irrational, impetuous and unpredictable barbarians coming from the circles of Islam culture. We are a rational world of the West, whose mission is to fight terrorism, the mission intensifying when terrorism crosses its borders and directly threatens interests of the West. Mass media which belong to the “tests of culture” creating the knowledge of the world play a crucial role in the projecting of the figure “we-they.” By essentializing and exaggerating the nature of “the other,” they promote a specific vision of the world and influence the collective image of Islam, which treated as a monolith connotes an obvious association with terrorism. However, as Sissako shows, reality is more complicated – internal conflicts, mass reconfigurations of human world resulting in new forms← 88 | 89 → of citizenship and belonging, ethnic and religious divisions, local beliefs and above local content exchanges evade precise definitions and descriptions. They need another language, a deeper reflection and a search for new forms of expression in order to think about “We” and “They” in the context of the ambiguity of this dichotomy.

Media moreover, do not explain, do not problematize reality, but deal with guilt and responsibility. In other words, media coverage concerning religious terrorism is totally dehumanized. Abderrahmane Sissako in his work reverses this narrative. Not only does he show what is hidden behind numbers – ordinary people with their needs, beliefs, passion forced to live against their tradition (what usually escapes the attention of the media) – but also he “gives face” to “Islamic fundamentalism” and individuals, who withstand the terror, so demonized in the media. He both undermines Western stereotypes about Islam, jihad or Islamic fundamentalists and emphasizes what is universal to all, regardless of race, religion or language. Changing the optics in the way of presentation, the conflict portrayed in the film destabilizes our ideas about Islam, forces us to reinterpret them and leads us to deeper reflection. As was written in one of the film reviews:

Timbuktu is a film that should be urgently seen by audiences everywhere as it engages with a range of pressing issues, not least the application of laws justified by extremist religious doctrine. Now, over a year since its acclaimed screening at the Cannes film festival, it is a work that gains added pertinence with the growth of religious extremism across the globe. What is particularly interesting to us is that rather than choosing to create a film of great drama and conflict, in Timbuktu even a potentially tense scene of the transfer of a western hostage is given the aura of being an unremarkable and commonplace activity, Abderrahmane Sissako has chosen to create a work that focuses on the imposition of a version of Islamic law on the everyday, almost banal, aspects of daily life in and around Timbuktu11.

Those “banal aspects” of daily life – singing together, playing football, praying to one’s “own” gods, eating dinner with family – merge and interlace in reality, which gives spectators a feeling that what is so far away is paradoxically close at the same time. By connecting us to different stories of “ordinary people,” on the one hand, the director creates an impression that everyone can relate to the protagonists’ life, and, on the other hand, he draws global attention to the suffering of the local people. ← 89 | 90 →

Not coincidentally the plot of the story is set in Timbuktu – an intellectual and spiritual capital and a center for the propagation of Islam throughout Africa in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site. An old Islamic proverb from West Africa proclaims: “Salt comes from the north, gold from the south, and the word of God and the treasures of wisdom from Timbuktu”12. According to one tradition, Timbuktu was named for an old woman left to oversee the camp while the Tuareg roamed the Sahara. Her name (variously given as Tomboutou, Timbuktu or Buctoo) meant “mother with a large navel”13. That myth seems to be possible, because in traditional beliefs omphalos was the center of the body. The world in an archaic culture has its own navel, the central point from which began and spread further space. In that place, there was a central axis and people saw opening communication between the three levels of space: the earth, the sky and the realm of the underworld. The center of the world (axis mundi) is not a geographical place but mental and symbolic14. To destroy the culture, first strike its symbol.

Symbols have always played a tremendous part in the cultural and social lives of specific communities, be it territorial, religious, cultural or other. The consistency of symbolic universe is a need of every human being as it guarantees the order of reality and a feeling that one occupies one’s own world. Although symbols are individually interpreted, in traditional cultures they are manifested and experienced communally. The breakdown of a symbolic universe results in the loss of sense and quality as well as the communal meaning, the expression of which are symbols. Depriving of a human being of “the sense of being in the world” means the creation of a new order anew. So, the attack on Timbuktu – a cultural symbol of Mali – is not associated only with a physical invasion and takeover of the city but also with the destruction of the spiritual and material continuity of the city community.

The film is about a family from Tuareg who lead a quiet life at the outskirts of the city. The director shows us the beauty of the deserts at the borders of which they live. The family composed of Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed) the shepherd, his wife Satima (Toulou Kiki) and his beloved daughter (Layla Walet Mohamed) take care of everyday duties during the day while they spend their evenings ← 90 | 91 → singing, dancing and enjoying conversations under starry skies. Sissako builds this intimate portrait of a happy family living in peace and in harmony with nature by applying artistic shots, slow camera movement, quiet music fading into the background and short almost whispered dialogues. However, in later film sequences, the spectator realizes that behind these idyllic scenes with all their symbolic and poetic layers, dramatic stories hide. Slowly, the reality of horror reaches Kidane family as well: all the prohibitions exert a huge impact on all the inhabitants of Timbuktu, including Kidane family. Newly enforced rigorous Sharia law acquires the look and feel of a grotesque aptly illustrated by a scene when a fish merchant is ordered to wear gloves when selling fish. She asks a question: “to put gloves on when selling fish? So how can I pour water on this fish with my gloves on?” (dialogue from Timbuktu).

Sissako seems to be condemning literal interpretations of Koran by oppressors. Peace and an idyllic portrayal of the shepherd family, who appear a metonymy of life in harmony with the rhythm of the desert, gives way to fear for one’s life. The internal anxiety of Kidane and Satima grows almost in a linear fashion along the power of terror when the initial timidity of oppressors changes into cruelty. The only person who is spared is the local shaman woman. It seems that oppression will not reach the family because they live at the outskirts of the city where the desert constitutes a protective barrier. This safe status of the family is maintained until Kidane gets into conflict with Amadou, the fisherman whom he accidentally fatally hurts. Despite the fact that Kidane repeats constantly that one cannot escape fate and that everything lies in the hands of God (Timbuktu), right after the accidental death of the fisherman, the fate of Kidane depends on the fighters who rely on their own code of rules. As already noted, Kidane family life constitutes the main axis of the plot, nevertheless the director skillfully introduces other subplots, other stories that illustrate the conditions of life under terror experienced by the inhabitants of Timbuktu every day. These stories not only draw our attention to the real events that took place in northern Mali, but also reveal other content, senses and symbolic meanings. The film becomes doubly referential. According to the double-track anthropological perspective, whereby one track deals with the archaic, with the structure of longevity, and the other with contemporaneity, I will try to interpret the symbolic layers of Sissako’s film.

Timbuktu begins with silence and the sound of wind in the desert. The camera lens moves to the running antelope. It seems that we hear her breathing rapidly (il.1). In the background someone utters the words – “Do not kill, only torment.” The next scene shows a series of shots pointed at African cult figures. ← 91 | 92 →

As Sławomir Sikora, writing on visual anthropology, especially photography, noted about photographs, the observation that can be easily applied to film shots:

Some photographs are symbolizations as they transcend its realistic qualities, not losing it after all. In this duality they become specific symbols, whereby the meaning of the first image is necessary to understand the meaning of the second one15.

As far as the interpretation of film images is concerned, we may say that what happens on the screen goes beyond the frame and causes a whole range of reactions, meanings and values. Semantic openness and variation in the image creates multiplicity of meanings one can deduct from them. When reading a scene in a more obvious way, we can presume that a running antelope might symbolize freedom for local people who are forbidden music, dance, a sense of security, integrity and identity. But why did the director start the film story from an image of an antelope, not any other animal? This image may lead us to traditional beliefs and meanings ascribed to an antelope in local mythology. According to one legend of Bambara people – an ethnic group living at the borderland of Mauritania and Mali – one day there appeared an antelope Cziwara – a mythical creature, half human and half animal. She came down from heaven to teach people how to grow grain. But people forgot about her charitable deeds and the angry Cziwara hid in a deep pit. To appease it, the Bambara tribe began to make masks symbolizing the sacred animal. Antelope’s ears represent the songs sung by women during the most difficult time for the tribe, the aim of which is to help survive hard times16. Both scenes, one with an antelope and the other with figures of cult, might signify not only a symbolic shooting but also an escape from an unsuccessful process of decolonization and from internal divisions.

Internal conflicts present in Malian society are also gently outlined by Sissako. The symbol of division between Tuaregs who live in the North (represented by Kidane, a herdsman) and ethnic groups of Black Africa in the South (represented by Amadou, a fisherman) became a river – a border between our world and an alien world.

In traditional, archaic cultures based on magical thinking, a person who crossed the river, a border between “orbis interior” (“our world”) and “orbis exterior” (“foreign world”), risked some sort of danger. Borders are often thought to be ambivalent – transcendental and demonic at the same time, and, human order ← 92 | 93 → does not apply to them. A man on the border finds himself in a “borderline” place signed by “tabu.” As Kowalski puts it “A hasty, illegal crossing of the border has to end for the risk-taker with the worst consequences: death, insanity or sinking in alien world and assuming its identity”17. Probably Satima, the shepherd’s wife, anticipated inevitable consequences when in the scene preceding the incident taking place at the Niger river, she asks her husband not to take any weapons but only to talk to the fisherman.

Music, as Bambara’s myth, can help survive hard times and as such it constitutes a significant part of the film serving as an exemplification of peaceful resistance to the regime’s torturers. Dunduzu Chisiza one of African’s politicians says:

Another outstanding characteristic of our culture is our love for music, dance and rhythm. Our throats are deep with music, our legs full of dance while our bodies tremor with rhythm. The proper subtitle for Africa should have been “Land of music, dance and rhythm”. This three-pronged phenomenon is indeed the spice of our life18.

Dance and music – a tribute to local heritage, an everyday expression of feeling, a key part of the culture of nomadic people in the region – can be purifying and liberating. Once again, the director refers to spiritual beliefs by presenting Zabou, possibly a local shamanistic priestess walking around in brightly covered robes with her head and hands uncovered and a cockerel on her shoulder.

Zabou, a transcendent figure – a mediator between earthly world and underworld – is the only woman Jihadi soldiers allow not to cover her hands and head. The scene during which we get to know Zabou is greatly symbolic. The warriors get into town and begin to “patrol” Timbuktu’s streets. In one of the streets a shaman woman stands with spread arms against the car of the warriors. It would seem that the warriors are not going to pay attention to the shaman woman and will fulfill their patrolling mission nevertheless. However, when the fearless Zabou does not withdraw, they slowly go away. We could limit our interpretation of Zabou’s role as that of resistance and rebellion, but such a reading of this scene seems insufficient. The director shows the power of resistance in many other scenes in the film; likewise, Zabou also appears in another powerful scene. In the reading ← 93 | 94 → of this particular figure, we have to turn to the area of bipolar anthropological view, that is, magical thinking. This is not about obvious analogies but rather, as Piotr Kowalski notes, “The discovery of cultural mechanisms which, in the changing historical conditions, construct the world anew19. The borderline figure of Zabou has the power characteristic of those who are “in between,” those who are in contact with “sacrum.” In archaic cultures, “the other” generate ambivalent feelings because they represent the state of matters that are not contained by the order of this world and, moreover, nobody knows where this “otherness” comes from. These matters cause fear and fascination at the same time because sacrum itself is frightening, it is holy and demonic simultaneously, good and bad at the same time. Everything that happens to be “in between” is hybrid and constitutes a threat to the real tidy world. Initially, the warriors try to evade the woman, but for one of them, the fascination with sacrum is stronger than he thought. There is one scene in the film, which can be interpreted as “a rite de passage,” when one of the soldiers, away from his comrades, performs an expressive barefooted dance that seems to represent a kind of primeval connection, a spiritual desire to clean himself. He engages in an ecstatic dance that would illustrate a symbolic meaning of “ecstasy which is the time of exceptional rapture during which no conditions of ordinary everyday life are important any more (…) a human being in the state of ecstasy is someone who went beyond his body and the physical limitations of his body”20.

This “initiation” comes in the presence of the woman, just after she has broken a mirror. According to traditional beliefs a broken mirror is not an ominous prophecy but it heralds things much worse – the smashing of mirrors, breaking into pieces the image contained therein, means damage to man or the world21. In this damaged world, the only thing that is left is the power of imagination – here we come to the much-commented scene that shows a group of young men playing football match without a ball in a totally committed way. Abderrahmane Sissako comments on this part of the film in an interview:

Imagination is the last weapon for people who have lost all their bearings. This is what keeps them alive because nobody can do anything about it; it’s the ultimate hope22. ← 94 | 95 →

Sissako not only portrays various peaceful forms of resistance of those who refuse to submit to a religious devotion hijacked by fanatic interpretation of Sharia law but also depicts jihadists as morally complex people, and exposes internal conflicts and hypocritical behavior in various forms. In the scene of recording propaganda film to gain new recruits, a young boy, who used to be a rapper, is trying to convince (perhaps more himself) that he walked a path of sin. He says that to the camera with a complete lack of conviction and to the question of older soldiers, “Does he believe in what he says” he replies, “I do not think so.” This image seems to say with the words of Miron Białoszewski: “Look at me, so I guess I have a face. Of all the familiar faces I remember my own the least”23. The overall message of the film seemed controversial, but Sissako explains in one of his interviews for Al Jazeera:

The movie aims at condemning all forms of barbarism and efforts to cover up the truth. These people are condemned because of what they do. But I gave them some humanity because if you don’t, the risk is that you will lose your own humanity… In my opinion there is always something to be saved in a human. Art must recognize what can save someone from going down the wrong path. But the group effect is condemnable (Sissako, Talk to Al Jazeera)

Finally, one of the most important protagonists in the film is the local Imam – mediator between local residents and terrorists. When a jihadist enters the mosque with weapons, he addresses them in the following way:

Here in Timbuktu, people who devote themselves to religion fill it with the head, not weapons. Stop your jihad. You dishonor Islam and others. Where is your mercy? Where is your forgiveness?24

This dialogue is not just a story about the real meaning of Islam for Muslims, but about Islam for the world and especially about religion for fundamentalists.


At the end of the chapter once again I would like to quote Sikora:

The film can be a very interesting means of exploration of cultural boundaries in the modern world. Because it allows dissect the boundaries between what is local and what is global; or rather, different levels of interpenetration of local and global; allows to observe the centrifugal and centripetal movement25. ← 95 | 96 →

Despite its local context, Timbuktu carries universal content: not only does it speak to us, but it also communicates something about us. The images that emerge from the frames painted by the director’s sensibility become stories about the human experience of the world, its fragmentation, the lost unity and the integrity of being. In the final scene of the film, the running antelope appears in the frame again. It runs for a moment as if running failed to exhaust her as it runs toward freedom. A film is always only a reflection of reality, its metonymic reflection, but the work of Abderrahmane Sissako is a whole “book of quotations” from which everyone can choose the one most moving to him and everyone can read it in their own way. Timbuktu is an invitation to a dialogue – so much needed in today’s world full of conflicts and mutual prejudices.


Benedyktowicz, Zbigniew. “Antropologia filmu,” Kwartalnik Filmowy, Vol. 2, 1993, p. 17.

Białoszewski, Miron. Autoportret odczuwalny, Obroty Rzeczy. Warszawa: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1957.

Chisiza, Kaluli, Dunduzu. “The Temper, Aspiration and Problems of Contemporary Africa,” Nyasaland Economic Symposium, July 18–28, 1962, as cited in Primus, “African Dance.” In: African Dance. An Artistic, Historical, and Philosophical Inquiry, ed. K. W. Asante, Canada: Africa World Press, 1996, p. 9.

Clifford, James. Routes. Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England: Harvard University Press, 1997.

Danielowicz, Krzysztof. Terroryzm w Afryce: geneza oraz przebieg konfliktu w Mali w latach 2012–2014, Oświęcim: Napoleon V, 2016.

Eliade, Mircea. Traktat o historii religii. Trans. Jan Wierusz-Kowalski. Łódź: Wydawnictwo Opus, 1993.

Geertz, Clifford. Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology. New York: Basic Book, 1983.

Jackiewicz, Aleksander. Antropologia filmu. Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1975.

Kellner, Douglas. Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and Politics between the Modern and Postmodern. London; New York: Routledge, 2003.

Komorowski, Zygmunt. Kultury Czarnej Afryki. Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1994.

Kowalski, Piotr. Kultura magiczna. Omen, przesąd, znaczenie. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 2007. ← 96 | 97 →

Kowalski, Piotr. “Niezróżnicowanie, czyli nasza byle jaka katastrofa.” In: Powodzie, plagi, życie i inne katastrofy, ed. Konarska Katarzyna. Wrocław: Colloquia Anthropologica et Communicatica, 2012, pp. 7–26.

Pastuszka, Wojciech. “Timbuktu. Miasto tysięcy manuskryptów,” 12 Nov. 2006, (20 Jan. 2017)

Pratt, Mary, Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. New York: Routledge, 2008.

Said, Edward. Orientalism. London: Penguin Group, 2003.

Sobchack, Vivian. Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. (20 Jan. 2017).

Sikora, Sławomir. Film i paradoksy wizualności. Praktykowanie antropologii, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo DiG, 2012.

Sikora, Sławomir. Fotografia: między dokumentem a symbolem, Warszawa: Świat Literacki, 2004.

Sissako, Abderrahmane. “An interview,” 28 May 2015, (20 Jan. 2017)

Sissako, Abderrahmane. “Talk to Al Jazeera, Timbuktu: Was Islam taken hostage,” 30 Aug. 2015, (15 Jan. 2017)

Stewart, Michelle. “Abderrahmane Sissako: Les Lieux Provisoires of Transnational Cinema.” In: Film, History, and Cultural Citizenship, eds. Tina Chen, David Churchill. New York: Routledge, 2007, pp. 199–216.

Tymowski, Michał. Dzieje Timbuktu, Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy imienia Ossolińskich, 1979.

Wills, Andy and Pal, Shivani. “Timbuktu,” 1 June 2015, (20 Jan. 2017)← 97 | 98 →

1 Vivian Sobchack, Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), s. 136: 20 Jan. 2017

2 Michelle Stewart, “Abderrahmane Sissako: Les Lieux Provisoires of Transnational Cinema,” in: Film, History, and Cultural Citizenship, ed. Tina Chen and David Churchill (New York: Routledge, 2007), pp. 199–216.

3 Douglas Kellner, Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and Politics between the Modern and Postmodern (London; New York: Routledge, 2003), p. 4.

4 See Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (New York: Routledge, 2008).

5 See Clifford Geertz, Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology (New York: Basic Book, 1983) or James Clifford, Routes. Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England: Harvard University Press, 1997).

6 Aleksander Jackiewicz, Antropologia filmu (Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1975), p. 15.

7 Zbigniew Benedyktowicz, “Antropologia filmu,” Kwartalnik Filmowy, Vol. 2 (1993), p. 17.

8 For the insightful analysis of the conflict in Mali, see: Krzysztof Danielowicz Terroryzm w Afryce: geneza oraz przebieg konfliktu w Mali w latach 2012–2014 (Oświęcim: Napoleon V, 2016).

9 Abderrahmane Sissako, “An interview” (2015): 20 Jan. 2017

10 Edward Said, Orientalism (London: Penguin Group, 2003).

11 Andy Wills and Shivani Pall, “Timbuktu” (2015): 20 Jan. 2017

12 Wojciech Pastuszka, “Timbuktu. Miasto tysięcy manuskryptów” (2006): 20 Jan. 2017

13 Michał Tymowski, Dzieje Timbuktu (Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy imienia Ossolińskich, 1979), p. 14.

14 Mircea Eliade, Traktat o historii religii, trans. Jan Wierusz-Kowalski (Łódź: Wydawnictwo Opus, 1993), pp. 356–367.

15 Sławomir Sikora, Fotografia: między dokumentem a symbolem (Warszawa: Świat Literacki, 2004), p. 99.

16 For insightful myth knowledge, see: Zygmunt Komorowski, Kultury Czarnej Afryki (Wrocław: Ossolineum, 1994).

17 Piotr Kowalski, “Niezróżnicowanie, czyli nasza byle jaka katastrofa,” in: Powodzie, plagi, życie i inne katastrofy, ed. Konarska Katarzyna (Wrocław: Colloquia Anthropologica et Communicatica, 2012), pp. 7–26.

18 Dunduzu Kaluli Chisiza, “The Temper, Aspiration and Problems of Contemporary Africa,” Nyasaland Economic Symposium, July 18–28, 1962, as cited in Primus, “African Dance,” in: African Dance. An Artistic, Historical, and Philosophical Inquiry, ed. K. W. Asante (Canada: Africa World Press, 1996), p. 9.

19 Kowalski, “Niezróżnicowanie, czyli nasza byle jaka katastrofa,” p. 11.

20 Kowalski, “Niezróżnicowanie, czyli nasza byle jaka katastrofa,” p. 9.

21 Piotr Kowalski, Kultura magiczna. Omen, przesąd, znaczenie (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 2007), p. 290.

22 Sissako, “An interview.”

23 Miron Białoszewski, Autoportret odczuwalny, Obroty Rzeczy (Warszawa: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1957).

24 Dialogue from Timbuktu.

25 Sikora, Fotografia: między dokumentem a symbolem, p. 183.