Five Films to Watch if You're Moving to Jordan

A cityscape of Amman, Jordan with a blue sky and Jordanian flag above the city

Indiana Jones and Transformers are just two of several Hollywood movies filmed in Jordan. But the Middle Eastern nation has produced many notable films that can help you learn about Jordanian history and culture before moving there.

Released in 2017, “17” follows a Jordanian under-17 women’s soccer team preparing to compete in the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup, which Jordan hosted in 2016. The documentary explores the challenges each of the girls faced, especially in pursuing a sport they’ve been told was only for men.

“Theeb” tells the story of a young Bedouin boy during the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire in World War I. As we witness the dangerous journey that Theeb takes as a British officer’s guide, the film delves into several themes—imperialism, tradition, and betrayal.  “Theeb” was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2014 Academy Awards.

“May in the Summer,” which came out in 2013, explores the religious tensions in Amman through the life of a Jordanian American woman named May who travels to Jordan with her sisters to celebrate her upcoming wedding. She struggles with her Christian mother’s disapproval of the marriage because her husband-to-be is a Muslim and her relationships with other family members.

The 2012 film “When Monaliza Smiled” is a romantic comedy set in Amman. Monaliza, a Jordanian woman, sees no reason to smile.  In her late 30s, she gets a job in a government office where she meets and falls in love with an Egyptian immigrant named Hamdi. He is the only person who can make her smile by helping her discover the joys of life. The imminent expiration of Hamdi’s work permit, however, threatens their relationship. Through the love story, the film looks at discrimination and social barriers in modern-day Amman.

Released in 2007, “Captain Abu Raed” is the first Jordanian film to be submitted to the Oscars. The movie follows an airport janitor who finds a Royal Jordanian captain’s hat in the trash. A group of neighborhood children mistake him for a pilot and ask him to share stories about his travels. He starts telling them about his fictional travels and, as a result, develops a strong bond with the kids.