Posts Tagged ‘“Theeb”’

theeb“THEEB” My rating: B

100 minutes |No MPAA rating 

On a purely visual level the Oscar-nominated “Theeb” (for foreign language film)  is a knockout, capturing a Middle Eastern desert landscape with an eye to vast spaces and intimate detail in a style clearly meant to evoke memories of “Lawrence of Arabia.”

The setting — the Bedouin fight against the Turks during World War I — is the same as in David Lean’s great epic.

But this accomplished  directing debut from English/Jordanian filmmaker  Naji Abu Nowar is unusual in that it approaches the material from the viewpoint of an 11-year-old boy.

“Theeb” (Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat) — his name is Arabic for “wolf” — is the third son a recently deceased sheik. His closest companion is his older brother Hasseim (Hussein Salaamed Al-Sweilhiyeen), who is teaching the boy in the ways of the desert.

The film’s opening scenes have a timeless quality — it’s hard to pin down if the action is taking place today or a century ago.  It’s not until the arrival of a British officer (Jack Fox) in the nomads’ camp that we realize there’s a war going on. (In fact, Theeb and his family seem not to even be aware of the conflict.)

The Brit, evidently on a secret mission,  asks Hasseim to guide him to a distant watering hole where he is to meet up with some Arab fighters. Disobeying his sibling, Theeb follows at a distance until he’s so far from home that Hasseim has no choice but to bring the boy along on the journey.

The desert is always dangerous. In this case the perils are multiplied by bandits who prey on travelers.


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