Post-apocalyptic action thrillers are not the kind of movie one usually associates with Arab filmmaking, but that’s the genre chosen by Emirati writer-director Ali Mostafa (City of Life, From A to B) for his chilling dystopian fable The Worthy.
The story unfolds in a near-future Arab world in which social and political disorder has led to the total breakdown of civilisation – imagine the world of Mad Max: Fury Road but without the souped-up vehicles and war paint.
As in Mad Max, water is a prized resource and its possession has enabled the humane and compassionate Shuaib to keep together a small band of survivors in the shattered remains of a former factory that once produced aircraft wings.
Aided by his son and daughter, Shuaib has been successfully fending off bandits and marauders, but the group faces an even greater existential threat after they allow a pair of outsiders to take refuge in the compound.
The drama that ensues mixes taut suspense and ferocious action with philosophical inquiry, while the struggles for dominance currently taking place in the Arab world charge the film’s survival-of-the-fittest narrative with terrifying contemporary resonance.
The Worthy is showing today at 6.15 pm at the ICA and also screens at the Curzon Mayfair on Saturday 15th October at 9pm.