Standing ovation and 10 minutes of applause at the 71st Venice International Film Festival for Theeb with Londoner Jack Fox.
The Jordan movie, Naji Abu Nowar debut, in competition in the Orizzonti (Horizons) section has won audiences hearts and found an almost certain Italian distribution.
Theeb tells the story of a boy who is living, in 1916, among a tribe in a forgotten corner of the Ottoman Empire. After his Sheikh father’s death, his older brother Hussein takes responsibility to teach him the principles of nomadic life. After a visit from a British Army officer and his guide, the pace of life in the tribe changes. Fearing the reputation of his late father, Hussein agrees to accompany the officer to his destination; a well on the road to the ancients pilgrims to Mecca. Theeb (young and stunning Jasser Eid) follows his brother on a dangerous and perilous journey across the Arabian desert at the height of the First World War.
In this journey Theeb learns the basic values of existence, the meaning of sacrifice and to be wary of false friends; to live up to his name (Theeb in Arabic means wolf).
Tense and well narrated, Theeb is devoid of the honeyed narration typical in all the movie where a child takes the center stage.
Theeb winds its way through stunning scenery, never insisted but always necessary for a brilliant and perfectly successful debut.
Theeb will be at the Toronto International Film Festival September 8th and at the BFI London Film Festival October 11th.