Cinema Releases - Theeb
In the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, a young Bedouin boy, Theeb (Jacir Eid), experiences a greatly hastened coming of age as he embarks, uninvited but eager for adventure, on a perilous desert journey with his elder brother Hussein (Hussein Salameh) to guide a British officer Edward (Jack Fox) and his guide Marji (Marji Audeh) to their secret destination. ‘Immersed in a way of life that has endured for centuries, the brothers are unaware of the tremendous upheavals taking place at the fringes of their world: the First World War is raging in Europe, the Ottoman Empire is coming undone, the Great Arab Revolt is brewing, and the British officer T.E. Lawrence is plotting with the Arab Prince Faisal to establish an Arab kingdom. The ensuing journey, filled with danger and hardship, will result in Theeb's greatly hastened maturation.
If Theeb is to survive he must quickly learn about adulthood, trust and betrayal, in a culture where a man's honour and righteousness determines his inclusion or expulsion from the community. Shot entirely on location against the ravishing landscape of Wadi Rum and Wadi Araba in Jordan, and cast with non-professional actors from one of the last of Jordan's nomadic Bedouin tribes to settle down, Theeb is a remarkable accomplishment ‘a skilful, genre-crossing blend of a coming-of-age drama and a western’ (Rasha Salti, TIFF).
Shortlisted, Academy Awards 2016, Best Foreign Film
Shortlisted, BAFTA 2016, Best Film not in the English Language
Shortlisted, BAFTA 2016, Best British Debut: Naju Abu Nowar and Rupert Lloyd
Best Director, Venice Film Festival, Orrizonti
Buy the DVD or Rent the film online.
Born in the UK in 1981, Naji Abu Nowar began his filmmaking career when he was accepted into the 2005 RAWI Screenwriters lab held in association with the Sundance Institute, to develop his first screenplay ‘Shakoush’ (Hammer). He then wrote and directed the short film ‘Death of a Boxer’ (2009) which screened at international film festivals including the Palm Springs International Shortfest, the Dubai International Film Festival, the Miami Short Film Festival and the Franco-Arab Film Festival. Theeb is Naji’s debut feature film.
In 2014 Variety honoured Naji with their prestigious ‘Arab Filmmaker of the Year’ award.
2014 THEEB (100mins)
2009 DEATH OF A BOXER (8mins)
THEEB Jacir Eid
THE STRANGER Hassan Mutlag
HUSSEIN Hussein Salameh
MARJI (THE GUIDE) Marji Audeh
EDWARD Jack Fox
Director Naji Abu Nowar
Screenplay Bassel Ghandour, Naji Abu Nowar
Cinematography Wolfgang Thaler
Editor Rupert Lloyd
Producers Bassel Ghandour, Rupert Lloyd
Executive Producer Nadine Toukan
Co-Producers Laith Al-Majali, Nasser Kalaji
Line Producer & Production Manager Diala Raie
Sound Dario Swade
Sound Mixer Falah Hannoun
Music Jerry Lane
Production Design Anna Lavelle
Costume Designer Jamila Aladdin
Hair & Make-Up Sleiman Tadros
Associate Producers Yanal Kassay, Eid Sweilheen, Ma’an Odeh
Produced by Bayt Al Shawareb, Noor Pictures, Immortal Entertainment
JORDAN|UK|UNITED ARAB EMIRATES|QATAR - 2014 - COLOUR - SCOPE 1:2.39 - DCP - 5.1 - 100 MINUTES BBFC cert 15
'Eye-searing landscapes and a fascinating historical setting turn this tale of innocence lost into a classic adventure film...truly memorable'
Trevor Johnston, Time Out
'Riveting adventure story about a young Bedouin boy surviving in the Arabian desert in 1916. The southern Jordan locations, including Wadi Rum, are particularly ravishing.'
Ryan Gilbey, Guardian Guide
'A simple but trenchant tale with the charismatic Jacir Eid as its watchful young hero.'
Ed Porter, The Sunday Times
'Magnificently shot in Jordan, and cast with non-professional Bedouin actors, notably wide-eyed, engaging young lead Jacir Eid, Theeb is a stark, tense affair …but with an unimpeachable ring of authenticity.'
Jonathan Romney, The Observer
'It's classical, muscular storytelling, heart-stoppingly tense at points, and boasts landscapes worth fighting for.'
Guy Lodge, The Evening Standard
'Filmed in many of Lean's favourite locations, Theeb implicitly dialogues with that sun-drenched classic of western cinema. ..All those characters who were ciphers to British-French geopolitical ambition and to some extent bit players to Lawrence's own mythic self-invention are here fully realised as human beings.'
John Bleasdale, CineVue
'There are echoes of Kipling and classic Westerns in the thrilling, award-winning adventure yarn Theeb…an epic journey fraught with danger, death and derring-do...A captivating story shot on breathtaking locations in southern Jordan that feels like a companion piece to Lawrence Of Arabia. Recommended.'
Allan Hunter, The Daily Express
'Theeb's journey works on several levels: as an adventure, as a thriller in which he must team up with an enemy to survive, and ultimately as an awakening of his own character. This perspective helps Abu Nowar subvert the film's more overt Western situations, with shoot-outs and ambushes, isolated outposts and dodgy officials. And the combination of picturesque setting, lively action and thought-provoking undercurrents make the film unforgettable.'
Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
'a rivetingly lean and resonant coming-of-age tale being described as the first Bedouin western (or should that be Middle Eastern?)'
Phil Hoad, The Guardian
'The epic and the intimate combine impressively in Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar’s debut feature Theeb. The epic is there is the scale of the stunning desert landscapes that are the backdrop to his World War One story of complicated Bedouin loyalties played out on the edges of the Ottoman Empire…Abu Nowar has drawn out a multi-faceted jewel of a performance from the non-professional Jacir Eid as his young hero, whose face, topped by its mop of unruly hair, evinces evocative innocence.'
Tom Birchenough, The ArtsDesk
'An austere, often beautiful movie.'
Bekzhan Sarsenbay, Little White Lies
'Jacir Eid is superb.'
Wendy Ide, The Times
‘A classic adventure film of the best kind, boasting stunning locales in a well-told story about a young Bedouin boy outwitting potential enemies in the desert.’
Jay Weissberg, Variety
‘A spectacularly epic film with a wonderfully intimate human story. It possesses everything that allows me fall in love with cinema, again and again… Theeb is a jewel.’
E. Nina Rothe, The Huffington Post
'Theeb is everything you could possibly want from a film'
“Revenge, loss of innocence and the conflict between old and new permeate Naji Abu Nowar’s terrific debut, Theeb.”
Chris Fyvie The Skinny
“A lean survival story told with tremendous emotional clout.”
'Slowburn coming-of-age under a harsh desert sun'
Mike McCahill, Moviemail
“This confident debut explores the passing of the nomadic Bedouin lifestyle while accompanying a young boy and his elder brother on a perilous military mission in 1916. Intelligently exciting.”
David Parkinson, Empire
“Simultaneously a coming of age story and a look at the tentacles of imperialism, it's also a thrilling adventure to boot.”
"A coming-of-age tale framed within an Arab Western, while also offering a very different perspective on the era of Lawrence, Theeb is a simple but very effective adventure."
Josh Slater-Williams, Sound on Sight