2014. Jordan/Qatar/United Arab Emirates/Great Britain. Directed by Naji Abu Nowar. A quietly gripping adventure tale that’s perhaps intended as a corrective to the romantic grandeur of Lawrence of Arabia, Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb is classic storytelling at its finest. The year is 1916, the setting is a desert province on the edge of the Ottoman Empire, and it’s a time of war. Seeking help, a British Army officer and his translator arrive at an encampment of Bedouins, who, according to their traditions, provide hospitality and assistance in the form of a guide. The guide’s younger brother, Theeb (Jacir Eid), follows and then tags along with the three grown-ups, who soon find themselves threatened by hostiles. As a boy who learns how to survive and become a man amid the violent and mysterious agendas of adults, Eid carries this concise and unsentimental film on his young shoulders with amazing assurance. DCP. In Arabic; English subtitles. 100 min.
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