TOUBA :: An Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi documentary


With unprecedented access, the documentary chronicles the annual Grand Magaal pilgrimage of one million Sufi Muslims to the holy Senegalese city of Touba.

The pilgrims travel from all over the world to pay homage to the life and teachings of Cheikh Amadou Bamba. His non-violent resistance to the French colonial persecution of Muslims in the late 19th century inspired a national movement and doctrine. Until this day, freedom of religious expression through pacifism is still practiced by millions of his followers.


:: Special Jury Award: Cinematography, SXSW, 2013


"Hypnotic, poetic... A profound experience... A face of Islam the world rarely gets to see... A work of cinematic poetry..." Tambay Obenson, Indiewire

"One of the stand-out titles in this year's [SXSW] lineup... A lusciously made meditation on Islam... Vital and important in today's landscape... An absolute joy to look at.... Featuring brilliant photography from Scott Duncan, Touba is a breathtakingly engrossing documentary feature, and one that is as pertinent to today’s political and global landscape as any this year’s documentary slate may have to offer. It’s a thrilling feature film, and one that should not be missed. By anyone." CriterionCast

"Somewhat like Ron Fricke’s Baraka and Samsara... There's something refreshing about a film that's content to stand back and observes - without judgment." Slant

"Allows us to virtually experience a sacred journey... Visceral, voyeuristic..." Film School Rejects


:: Director: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (Free Solo)
:: Cinematographer: Scott Duncan