Theeb: A Review



So finally today I got to see Theeb, the Jordanian movie I’ve been waiting to see for so long. Perhaps a little longer than most people as I had the pleasure of working on it (well, not exactly on it, more like on the script for translation purposes, but I like to think I had something to do with it anyway). Of course that was almost 3 years ago, which goes to say how much work has been put into this movie, and to my delight I can safely say now after watching it that it certainly paid off – as if it wasn’t enough that it won best Arabic movie at Abu Dhabi Film Festival or best director at Venice Film Festival – well, I like to act like my opinion matters too.

The film follows the journey of 10 year-old Theeb through the treacherous terrain of the Arabian desert amid the chaos of the early 1900s. The story itself is quite deep, the kind that leaves you mesmerized in your seat when the end credits start rolling on. It excites numerous questions in your mind as it deals with themes of brotherhood, loyalty, betrayal and survival trough unimaginable circumstances, where friends could turn to foes and foes could turn to friends at the pull of a trigger. But, most of all, it’s a story of a little boy’s journey into maturity, from the comfort of his tribal home and into the real world where the strong eats the weak.

Technically speaking, the movie is a visual feast. From the breath-taking scenery of the very picturesque Wadi Rum to the great cinematography that gives the scenes a certain aura of mysticism and makes them beat with life despite the shadow of eminent death that prevails throughout the movie. The perfect complement for all that was the music and sound effects, which were of utmost importance in a movie with such little dialogue, filling in the blanks, speaking unspoken thoughts.

However, I still think the winning quality of this movie was its authenticity. Not only were the actors all local Bedouins living in Wadi Rum, everything in the movie feels so real and true to reality, which is something that has been and still severely lacking in Jordanian drama and film endeavors.  The acting, by the main characters at least, was so natural, their dialect, the way they dealt with the camels, with everyday instruments, nothing felt fake or overdone, which – I daresay- is a first in the Jordanian drama and movie scene.

All in all, I’m proud to say that this is a Jordanian movie and to recommend it to everyone I know, but I think I would’ve loved it just as much if it came from any other country because, after all is said and done, it’s a beautiful peace of art, really.

The movie is showing now in cinemas in Jordan, Lebanon and UAE, so make sure you don’t miss it if you’re in any of those countries or planning a trip there. You can check the IMDB page or the facebook page
for more info.

A Conversation with Tubby – 12

I was sitting alone at the farthest corner inside the café, sipping peacefully on my tea when he helped himself to the chair across from me.

Me: What do you want?

Tubby: Now, now! Is that anyway to greet an old friend?

Me: What’s with the pretentious language! Who do you think you are, freaking Mr. Darcy?

Tubby: Ah, classical literature references, now who’s being pretentious?

Me: What do you want? Can’t you see I’m enjoying the silence?

Tubby: Hardly so. You’ve been trying to find one good thought to write about to no avail.

Me: So?

Tubby: So I’m here to the rescue.

Me: And how exactly do you intend to help?

Tubby: Let’s see. You’ve had some interesting ideas on the way here. Like when you were stuck in traffic under that bridge

Me: And I started thinking what if the bridge collapsed. That’s not very interesting.

Tubby: Well, the interesting part is that you were wondering if you should leave your car and come to the café anyway.

Me: Your point?

Tubby: It’s funny how you start with something colossal and then forget about it and start thinking about the minor stuff.

Me: What can I say, a life of micro-planning is sure to produce some side effects.

Tubby: well, it’s not only that. You always sweat the small stuff.

Me: No I don’t!

Tubby: Yes you do. Even before going anywhere you start thinking what route you should take despite having been there a zillion times.

Me: That’s unfair, I stopped doing that. That is not to say I like to be prepared. Nothing wrong with having a plan.

Tubby: The best laid plans of mice and men…

Me: Often go astray. I know, I know. I’ve had my fair share of plans going astray. I’m not saying plans should always work, I just like to keep them handy, safety tools you might say.

Tubby: Drop the shrink talk. You’re obsessed with planning.

Me: “Obsessed” is pretty much shrink talk if you ask me.

Tubby: I didn’t ask you.

Me: Very funny.

Tubby: No, really. Think about it. The biggest problem with that bridge collapsing, for you, would be that it messed with your schedule.

Me: Would you please stop psychoanalyzing me? You said you were here to help, you didn’t give me one interesting idea to write about.

Tubby: Why write? Can you just sit here, stare at that cat out of the window and drink your tea? Why do you have to “do” something all the time?

Me: Okay, it’s getting late, I’m getting out of here…