(Naji Abu Nowar, Jordan/UK/United Arab Emirates/Qatar 2014, 100 min., DCP, Arabic w/ subtitles)
Rochester Premiere. 1916, the other side of Lawrence of Arabia—While war rages in the Ottoman Empire, Hussein raises his younger brother Theeb in a traditional Bedouin community that is isolated by the vast, unforgiving desert. The brothers’ quiet existence is suddenly interrupted when a British army officer and his guide ask Hussein to escort them to a well located along the old pilgrimage route to Mecca. So as not to dishonor his recently deceased father, Hussein agrees to lead them on the long and treacherous journey. The young, mischievous Theeb secretly chases after his brother, but the group soon find themselves trapped amidst threatening terrain riddled with Ottoman mercenaries, Arab revolutionaries, and outcast Bedouin raiders.
“Theeb is a jewel . . . spectacularly epic . . . It possesses everything that allows me to fall in love with cinema, again and again . . . the kind of film that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go.” – E. Nina Rothe, The Huffington Post