DVD - 2016 | Arabic
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1916. 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 brothersb2 (Bquiet existence is suddenly interrupted when a British Army officer and his guide ask Hussein to escort them to a water 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.
Publisher: [New York, New York] :, Film Movement,, [2016]
Branch Call Number: DVD Theeb
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (100 min.) :,sound, color ;,4 3/4 in.
digital, optical, rda
NTSC, rda
video file, DVD video, region 1, rda


From the critics

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Jan 03, 2021

Despite having 2 counts against it - Theeb has a Dondi brat as it's hero (and) won the Academy Award for best foreign film for 2016, it isn't a total loss.
If you like a barren landscape, lots of chewing camels, and a certain amount of fatalism, there is a bit of redemption.

Feb 04, 2020

Theeb is about a young boy's rite of passage: "The strong shall eat the weak."

Oct 29, 2019

Gripping movie. The authenticity of the actors, location and traditions of the Bedouins adds to the originality of the premise and the plot.

Jul 21, 2019

I've watched this movie twice already and I'm in for a third watch. This is a superbly written and shot movie about the exact period and circumstances surrounding the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It only hints at a whole lot of factors that contributed to the schism that happened in what is now known as the Middle East (hence the confusion among commentators about whether it's set in Jordan, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia). The most refreshing and thankfully invigorating aspect is its purety of voice, unabated by the distortion caused when the conqueror attempts to tell the conquered's story. If you're curious to know what is the essence that the west has failed to recognize (with very few notable exceptions) in Arabic and Bedouin culture, watch this, and you might gain a new appreciation for a culture often misunderstood and underappreciated.

Jun 20, 2019

A fascinating film... astonishing in the breadth and depth of the coverage in what starts off as a simple story. In this film, we see the strong value of family of brothers, the independence of a willful son to survive in a hostile environment, and the determination to avenge his brother's death while needing to rely on the killer to return home. A great film!

Sep 17, 2018

Who needs big budget production sets when you have the desert and canyons of Wadi Rum in southern Jordan as the stage. Set in 1916, engaging little story with few dialogue but full of loud relevant cultural messages throughout, especially the final scenes.

Jul 15, 2018

The background of the whole movie was shot in the isolated desert in Bedouin. An Arabic teenager Theeb was raised by his elder brother Hussein. As requested by a British Army Officer they had to escort him through the dangerous terrain. On their way, Hessein was shot by the bandit, the poor little boy was left alone with no water and no food, but in his mind he wanted to revenge and find the killer for his beloved brother.
This is a wonderful movie well worth watching.

May 01, 2018

Could not get past the commentary. Tried to turn it off, but that didn't work. Fast forwarded through most of it.

Dec 16, 2017

Naji Abu Nowar’s “Bedouin Western” was Jordan’s official entry for Best Picture Oscar, the first such submission from that country. Both a coming of age story and a political allegory, Nowar’s spare yet beautiful film features a cast of impressive amateurs wandering through some of Jordan’s most austere desert landscapes (the same region stood in for the surface of Mars in Ridley Scott’s "The Martian"). Torn between revenge and mutual need, Theeb’s journey with a desert bandit introduces the boy to a world he never knew existed, where political intrigues and shifting technologies are as foreign to him as the distant sea he’s only heard about—to his young mind the mysterious Turks are more concept than reality and a locomotive is an unimaginable wonder. But trains are beginning to take over the much venerated pilgrims' route to Mecca and their steel rails have already started replacing camel tracks thus altering an entire culture. First and foremost however this is a wasteland road movie seen through the eyes of a youth whose own innocence is as fragile as the way of life he’s only just come to know.

Sep 18, 2017

We recognize the genre immediately: the early 1900’s; a beautifully photographed desert landscape; a lawless place on the edge of civilization; a stranger rides into town; a shoot-out against bandits in a canyon – yet the “cowboys” are dressed in Bedouin robes and they’re riding camels, and the desert has brown and beige hues rather than reddish. The American “Western” has been here successfully transported to the wild parts of Arabia and Egypt. (Of course the American Western has another alter-ego in another semi-mythical part of the world too; the Japanese samurai film; though in "Theeb" the Western trope is used not as a nostalgic look back on an earlier time, but as a biting critique of the coming of "civilization".) I won’t give away any of the plot, except that Theeb is a boy who learns about a bad world; there’s good (the tribal society) vs. evil (“civilization”), a couple of surprise twists, lots of artsy foreshadowing, and stunning photography. Fans of Hollywood storytelling may find it looks a little too “indie”, but to me this roughness adds to the roughness of the storyline. The unseen, mocking voices in the canyon are genuinely frightening, as is the acting of the bandit who shows up later with uncertain intentions. The foreshadowing of the boy tracing the cracks in the parched mud is also an interesting moment. Worth watching if only to see how a familiar type of movie can be made unfamiliar.

A side note: To my ears, there seems to be some confusion about the name. The Arabic pronunciations alternate between “Thaybe”, “Taybe”, and “Teb” with a drawn-out E. I’m guessing that I’m hearing a vowel sound halfway between the long A and the short E, and a TH as a variant of a type of T. These sounds occur frequently in the world’s languages, and I speak no Arabic so I don’t know how they work in that language.

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Sep 19, 2018

He who swims in the Red Sea cannot know its true depth. And not just any man, Theeb, can reach the seabed, my son. In questions of brotherhood,
never refuse a guest. Be the right hand of the right when men make their stand. And if the wolves offer friendship, do not count on success. They will not stand beside you when you are facing death.
The sharif said you could guide us to the Roman Well.
-On the Pilgrim's Trail? That trail's been abandoned since the railroad came.
I have people there.
-With all respect, there are more raiders than pilgrims on that trail.
Brotherhood is more important than your railway.
Remember our father. "The strong eat the weak." We're stronger than them.

Sep 19, 2018

Because you're a helpless rabbit. Worse. At least a rabbit can survive alone.
This is what destroyed us.
-What is it?
The iron donkey trail.
-What's it for?
Pilgrims and Ottoman soldiers ride it. A month by camel now takes a week by train.
I've met all kinds of people. Anyone from wise men to merchants. I even took a ship captain to Mecca.
-What's a ship captain?
They guide people at sea.
-I've never seen the sea.
I've seen two. The Red Sea... and the Palestine sea. I've traveled all over.
I've seen Jerusalem and al-Sham. Everywhere from Baghdad to Al-Madinah al-Munawwarah.
-Why did you stop?
They stopped me. The train came and ruined everything. All my forefathers were pilgrim guides. They left us in dark times, without means or opportunity. And so brother killed brother. The strong eat the weak. Those are your Englishman's friends.
-What happened?
The train. Madmen. You can't stop a spear with your hand.


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