PRESS CONFERENCE – Abderrahmane Sissako: “There is a complex side to each human being”

© FDC / KV

Abderrahmane Sissako and the entire cast of Timbuktu, presented in Competition, went through the traditional exercise of the press conference this Thursday. The Mauritanian film director talked about how his film came about, in front of an attentive audience, who gave him a huge round of applause when he broke into tears, overcome by emotion.
Abderrahmane Sissako, on how his film came about:
“The trigger was the stoning of a couple, in a small village in Mali. Not only because this happened but also because no-one spoke about it”, he stressed, lamenting that the world is becoming “indifferent to horror”.
Sylvie Pialat, the film producer, on the subject of the film director’s initial intention to shoot a documentary:
“Timbuktu was still occupied and it was out of question to shoot in Mali for security reasons. When the French Army intervened, we felt an urgent need to tell that particular story. It took us a very long time to find the country in which to shoot the film, Mauritania”.
Abderrahmane Sissako, talking about the “element of humanity” in jihadists, with much emotion:
“There is a complex side to each human being, there is good and bad. A jihadist is like us, but his life has dramatically changed. A person who abuses others may have doubts. This is why I think that there is a humane side to him”.

Abderrahmane Sissako also admitted feeling “uncomfortable” on film sets, and his “fear of aestheticizing films:
“We are face to face with sixty people but feel alone. We pretend that we control and know everything, but that’s not true.

Interview directed by Benoit Pavan