Jordanian film Theeb – the debut feature for Naji Abu Nawar – blew audiences away in its screening at the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF). The screening on Tuesday 11 November at the Small Hall of the Cairo Opera House was packed, with almost as many members outside fighting to get in as there were in the audience. This is why CIFF decided to host another screening of Theeb on Wednesday 12 November of the Jordanian Epic.
The Bedouin coming of age tale, takes place in the deserts of Jordan's picturesque Wadi Rum around the outbreak of the World War I.
Theeb tells the story of the young boy who accompanies his brother, an English soldier and his guide to a well near the newly established train tracks for his mission. The storyline involving continuous travels on camels through the desert allows for impeccable cinematography by Wolfgang Thaler paying a tribute to the beauty of the Jordanian landscape.
The young protagonist, Theeb (translating to Wolf) gave an impeccable performance as he holds the entire film together. According to the director, all the actors with the exception of the British soldier Jack Fox, are actual members of the Bedouin tribes who are featured in the film. This gives the film the authenticity that transcends the screen in an organic manner.
Theeb is a result of year-long research by the director Abo Nawar and other screenplay writer of the film Bassel Ghandour, who spent time conversing and studying the Bedouin communities in the region.
Theeb has screened in the Toronto Film Festival, Venice Film Festival (where Abo Nawar won the New Horizons Award for Best Director) and the Abu Dhabi Film Festival earlier this month where it went home with even more awards: Best Film from the Arab World, FIPRESCI Prize for Best Narrative Feature
The film is screening in the Cairo International Film Festival's 'Prospects of Arab Cinema Programme'.
Theeb will be screened on Wednesday 12 November at 10pm
at El-Hanager Cinema, Cairo Opera House grounds
Check the festival's complete programme and Ahram Online's recommendations