Director: Naji Abu Nowar, Jordan
Young Theeb makes a perilous journey across a beautifully shot desert in the last days of the Ottoman Empire, as the way of life in the region is about to change. The tension builds as Theeb considers his choices and who he can trust. Called by some a Bedouin ‘western’.
(N.B. one showing at 7.00pm followed by AGM and drinks in the Whitaker Room)
Eye-searing landscapes and a fascinating historical setting turn this tale of innocence lost into a classic adventure film. First-time director, Naji Abu Nowar, calls it a ‘Bedouin western’, and the honour and hospitality which his nomadic tribespeople value above all else informs Theeb first to last. The largely non-professional cast are as authentic as the craggy, unforgiving surroundings, and the way the film balances the simplicity of its central rite of passage with a broader outlook on a people caught in the shifting sands of time is a tribute to the filmmakers’ clarity of vision. A truly memorable first feature.
Theeb is a jewel, deserving of its Orizzonti Award for Best Director prized to Naji Abu Nowar in Venice and more. It is a film about the vastness of a desert, strength of a child and the beauty of the culture of the Bedouins, who not only survive within their harsh environment, but thrive and continue to amaze. A film has to be good. No wait, it has to be great! And there is nothing worse than watching with big expectations, only to be disappointed. Thankfully, Theeb delivers, in every way, on every level, to every part. It is a spectacularly epic film with a wonderfully intimate human story.