‘Inshallah A Boy’ review: Amjad Al Rasheed exposes misogyny in Jordan’s Oscar entry

‘Inshallah A Boy’ review: Amjad Al Rasheed exposes misogyny in Jordan’s Oscar entry

When a man dies, the leader of a women’s guard rings the bell and the lights go out in the house. Nawal (Mouna Hawa), who wakes up to find that her increasingly weary husband Adnan has died during the night, bows her head in customary piety as her existence is erased by this long eulogy for the man who is no longer around .

She still cares for her daughter, works long hours in a wealthy home as a nurse for an elderly woman with advanced dementia, and keeps a hospitable home in the apartment they bought and paid off together, using her inheritance as deposit. However, this life is not mentioned. Nawal’s main task is to “protect her husband’s reputation” by staying in the house for four months and 10 days. And if this is not possible, do not stand outside the house in the dark. “After sunset the devils roam the world,” warns the prayer leader.

Insha Allah, a boy Director Amjad Al Rasheed subverts the misogyny embedded in tradition and law so relentlessly that he sees around him that it is surprising – and heartening – to see him chosen as Jordan’s entry for the Oscars. The injustices in his country’s legal system, which are soberly listed in the film, are astonishing; Grief is only the first of Nawal’s problems.

Just days after Adnan’s death, Nawal’s brother-in-law Rifqi (Haitam Omari) pleads guilty that she never knew existed. Then she learns that Adnan lost his job four months before his death and other bills are unpaid. Worst of all, the law states that Rifqi can also claim half of her house as her rightful share of Adnan’s inheritance. He says he is fine now. He’s pretty tight on cash.

Rifqi is an excellent villain, evil in his ordinariness. A greedy, overbearing tyrant who is always a little too close to the skinny Nawal and poses as the family’s protector; Under this guise, he sues for custody of Nora, her daughter (Seleena Rababah), and rightly states that he will never allow his niece to become homeless. Ahmad (Mohammad Al Jizawi), Nawal’s reluctant brother, tells her to obey and be kind. What’s wrong with a child spending time with his aunt and uncle, he asks? She will stay with him until he finds her a new man.

If Nora had been a boy, things would have been different; She would be her father’s heir. If Nawal was pregnant, it would take at least nine months for the gender of her baby to be announced. When Lauren (Yumna Marwan), her employer’s glamorous and well-groomed daughter, learns that she is pregnant by her hated husband, Nawal hatches a desperate plan that is sure to bring the wrath of God, but may save them both.

Lauren’s story has its own power. The fact that she comes from money does not protect her from violence, and the fact that she is Catholic instead of Muslim does not change her status. She is supposedly a model woman; As a woman, she knows that if she crosses the line, she no longer counts. Her husband now humiliates her with infidelity; She wants a divorce while he expects silence and children from her. Right, says her mother Souad (Salwa Nakarra, croaking like a viper), don’t say anything, as generations of women have done before you.

The harshness of this part of life is undeniable, but Rasheed does all he can to soften it with homely touches. The pace is constant, the performances – especially that of Palestinian actress Mouna Hawa, who is excellent as a woman caught between a sense of duty and seething anger – are delivered with quiet power. The scope of the subject matter is conveyed by an opening shot that sweeps across the Amman skyline, telling us that we are witnessing a story that spans a lifetime.

However, this shot lands on a bra that has fallen from a clothesline onto a balcony roof pole, an embarrassing mess of disorganization inside. We immediately see how he focuses on small things and reveals lives that are virtually invisible to outsiders. It is a tone subdued and free of artificiality.

But as the story of Nawal’s struggle builds, it takes on the dynamics of a thriller. Her employer fires her; The controversial Nawal is no longer respectable enough to take care of an old woman. Further court orders are forthcoming, requiring her to appear before a single judge who will hear Rifqi’s legal cases and decide her fate. Something has to be done, there has to be a solution.

Nawal feels the same urgency. As a child, she tells Nora, she was not afraid of anything. Now she realizes that growing up as a woman has paradoxically shrunk her and is even afraid of the mouse that invaded her kitchen. Nora needs a better life than this; Nawal also needs to regain courage for them. Watching her try to solve the problem is the biggest thrill of all.

Title: Insha Allah, a boy
Distributor: Greenwich Entertainment
Release date: March 12, 2024
Director: Amjad Al Rasheed
Screenwriter: Delphine Agut, Rula Nasser, Amjad Al Rasheed
Form: Mouna Hawa, Hitham Omari, Seleena Rababah, Yumna Marwan, Salwa Nakarra, Mohammad Al Jizawi
Time: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Source: Deadline

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