Days ago the Oscars shortlist was announced, and the Jordanian Movie (Theeb) was announced as one of the finalists. Directed by Nagy abu Nawar. This is happy news to all Arabic critics and fans, specially in Jordan, as this is the first time a Jordanian movies reaches this face, compelling prince Rania to tweet her happiness and wishes to the team.
The movie has been shown in 25 countries and won 18 awards.
The movie was shot at the Wadi Rum desert in south Jordan. The cast was cleverly chosen from the local area itself. They then attended acting workshops for a few months, and acted in the beduin language that needed to be translated to Classic Arabic.
Theeb is Anwar’s first feature film. He started on the project in 2010 and had won grants and funds from Doha Film Institute, Sanad Fund in Abu Dhabi, and Rooa South East from Switzerland.
The film takes place in 1916, the year of the great Arabic revolution under the Ottoman regime, in parallel to the first world war. The two brothers Hussien and Theeb go on a journey in the desert escorting Edward, the English officer, and his beduin friend. They want to reach a Roman well on the Pilgrim’s way and close to the Hijaz Railway. This railway had a negative impact on the beduins who used to work as guides for pilgrims on their way to Mecca. They are raided by outlaws and all get killed except for Theeb, who finds himself alone facing the desert, and having to deal with his brother’s killer to survive.
The film shows the nature of human relationships in these harsh desert surroundings, and tells the story of beduins highlighting their manners of courage and generosity. It draws you from the very beginning to live the experience with its characters from the very first moment. It will not be a surprise if it wins, as it has a strong track-record of being shown in 25 countries and winning 18 different awards, the most significant are: Venice Film Festival: Best Director. Best Film from the Arab world: Dubai Film Festival, and best non-English film in the BAFTA awards.
It is worth mentioning that the film is going to be relaunched in a number of Arab countries while competing for the Oscars.