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Jordanian filmmaker wins best director at Venice Film Festival

Jordanian filmmaker wins best director at Venice Film Festival

For 'Theeb' – based on the Ottoman Empire

Jordanian filmmaker Naji Abu Nowar has won the Orizzonti Award for 'Best Director' for his film 'Theeb' at the 71st Venice Film Festival

Jordanian filmmaker Naji Abu Nowar has won the Orizzonti Award for Best Director for his new film at this year's 71st Venice Film Festival. The 100-minute narrative feature, called Theeb, is set in 1916, in a far-flung corner of the Ottoman Empire during the Great Arab revolt.

It's a period of upheaval, which saw bedouin livelihoods and culture threatened by a newly built pilgrim railway – which ran from Damascus to Medina.

"The stunning but inhospitable land has become the hunting ground of Ottoman mercenaries, Arab revolutionaries and bedouin raiders, and the young Theeb is soon forced to decide whether or not to join forces with a murderer in a bid to survive," said a statement, and the Orizzonti section is "dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinema", according to the festival's website.

Jordanian filmmaker wins best director at Venice Film Festival (фото 1)

 Naji Abu Nowar, far right, with his cast for Theeb

Abu Nowar has said he spent over a year living with the tribe to prepare for the film, a Jordanian, Britain, UAE and Qatar co-production funded in part by the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and Doha Film Institute. "The bedouin culture has lots of things that make it a ripe subject for a Western. We filmed near the Wadi Rum valley in southern Jordan – a wild terrain, a lawless place in 1916, where people must take morality into their own hands," he said.