If ever there was a film that embodied Miami Film Festival’s Jordan Ressler First Feature Award, it’s our 2015 winner Theeb. Not only is it director and co-writer Naji Abu Nowar’s first feature film, it’s the film debut of nearly every actor who appears on screen, as well as the first Jordanian film to ever be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.
When his older brother Hussein embarks on a mission to guide a British Army officer across the desert, young Theeb makes the misguided decision to secretly follow them. Taking place in the Ottoman Empire in 1916, what transpires is a harrowing coming-of-age adventure through the unforgiving landscape of the Wadi Rum desert. As the group find themselves faced with unexpected enemies and shocking acts of violence, Theeb must live up to his given name — which means “wolf” — and quickly develop the survival skills to find a way back home to his tribe.
A wondrously assured feature directorial debut, Theeb can best be described as a folktale in the body of a Bedouin western. Before the gorgeous first frames appear on screen, a voiceover offers some sage advice: “In questions of brotherhood, never refuse a guest…and if the wolves offer friendship, do not count on success. They will not stand beside you when you are facing death.”
Who this advice will suit best is for you to decide, as loyalty and animal instincts collide into a fierce and unforgettable journey through the Arabian wilderness — one where every decision is a matter of life and death.
Join us this weekend only for a special 6-year anniversary online presentation of Theeb, our Miami Film Festival 2015 Jordan Ressler Screenwriting Award winner. This month marks the sixth anniversary of the film’s debut at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Horizons Best Director award. For tickets, click here.