Stunningly shot in Wadi Rum in Jordan (Lawrence of Arabia country), Theeb is an astonishing achievement.
All but one of the small, all-male cast are non-professionals (Jack Fox – The Messenger, Johnny English Strikes Again – the exception), with the young Jacir Eid extraordinary as the Bedouin child Theeb, who has had no contact with the world outside his desert community. It’s the Arab Revolt of 1916 against the oppressive Ottoman Empire and the world is changing. The arrival of the railway has deeply disrupted the nomadic Bedouin way of life and pitted tribe against tribe.
As Theeb and elder brother Hussein travel across the desert with the Englishman and his guide, an ambush leaves Theeb reliant on one of the outlaws for his survival.
With its sparse dialogue, Theeb is a quiet, assuredly confident feature debut from British-born Jordanian director, Naji Abu Nawar, with the spectacular landscape, in all its isolated beauty, integral to the narrative.
Nominated for the best foreign language Oscar in 2016.