Beyond the Horizon — The Myth of Timbuktu


A film by Thomas Riedelsheimer and Thomas Wartmann
© 2003 / 2 x 43 min / Digi Beta / 16:9 / Stereo

“Beyond The Horizon” travels along the delta of the river Niger in Mali. The films tracks down the ingredients that made Timbuktu a myth — even in our days. Trade, gold, salt, architecture, knowledge, wealth.

The films lives on beautiful visual impressions which give a close idea of the longing and desire of explorers of all times. The heat, the sand, the colourful people and the sweltry atmosphere along the mighty River of Niger — almost a hallucination itself. Along with this sensual experience we meet people on the way. An architect, Fulbe nomads — once called the masters of the land, scholars of the holy Quaran, blacksmiths, fishermen and griots — the living libraries of the society. They tell us about the spiritual world of Niyama, the mudbuildings, the water and the cattle. Passing Djenne and Mopti we arrive in Timbuktu by boat. Buried in the sand, the place is often said to be dying, but the schools are still alive and bursting with student. Beautiful woman cross the streets or use the old public stoves for baking bread in the open. Camel caravans still arrive with the gold of the desert — salt. But the most important thing in Timbuktu is religion and knowledge: The old mosques, dark like a womb inside and the books and most precious manuscripts, sometimes stored in libraries, sometimes buried in the sand.



Directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer
Written by Thomas Wartmann
Cinematography and editing: Thomas Riedelsheimer
Sound: Salam Bah
Unit manager: Mai Moussa Djoumbaye
Production manager: Markus Breimaier
Producer: Thomas Wartmann
Commissioning editors: Petra Felber and Dr. Sabine Scharnagl, BR

Commissioned by Bayerischer Rundfunk.


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