Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, the Competition's only African entry: Abderrahmane Sissako's "Timbuktu." The director: Abderrahmane Sissako (Mauritanian/French, 52 years old). Another of this year's five newcomers, Sissako has established himself as one of Africa's premier auteurs, though he's been based in France since the early 1990s -- a background that complements his favored themes of globalization and outsider identity. Born in Mauritania, he moved with his family at an early age to Mali, where he completed his schooling, before studying film at Russia's Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow -- an institution that also boasts Aleksandr Sokurov and Andrei Tarkovsky among its alumni.