‘Inshallah a Boy’ Director Braces for Controversy

In “Inshallah a Boy,” chosen for Cannes’ Critics Week, girls speak about intercourse and being pregnant. They additionally handle misogyny and social injustice. But most of all, they are saying no.

“The main idea was to talk about a woman who refuses something that’s considered normal in her society,” factors out director Amjad Al Rasheed, celebrating his characteristic debut.

In the Jordan-set movie, Nawal (Mouna Hawa), after her husband’s sudden demise, finds out that in accordance with native inheritance regulation, and since she “only” gave delivery to a daughter, his household is likely to be entitled to all the pieces she owns, together with her residence. Out of choices, she pretends to be pregnant once more.

Despite its Cannes premiere — and his earlier win at Venice’s Final Cut — Al Rasheed stays cautious when discussing the movie’s future reception at residence.

“I can’t predict people’s reactions, but I am going to be honest: there are already plenty of negative comments out there. I don’t know why, but there is this feeling that we, Jordanians, don’t make good films — even when they go to Cannes. Or that they are too scandalous,” he says. Noting that on the finish of the day, he simply needs to open a dialog.

“It all comes down to the same thing: this male-dominated society that controls everything, women, minorities and everyone who is a bit different. If, according to that old saying, women make up one half of the society, how are we supposed to function or evolve if that half is suffering from inequality and oppression?” he wonders.

“Let’s see what the Jordanians are going to say.”
While the regulation he describes nonetheless exists, the sense of hopelessness, of being taken benefit of, crosses borders, he states.

“This law is absurd and it doesn’t make sense, but there are other laws that make women suffer — just think about the fight for equal pay. When we were developing the film, we would go to different places, meet different producers and hear: ‘I know this situation. I know what you are talking about.’ So yes, I do think it’s relatable.”

“Inshallah a Boy” was produced by Rula Nasser and Aseel Abu Ayyash for Imaginarium Film, co-produced by Nicolas Lepretre and Raphaël Alexandre for Georges Film and Yousef Abed Alnabi for Bayt Al Shawareb. Pyramide Intl. is dealing with gross sales.

Nawal’s story was impressed by Al Rasheed’s personal relative, who discovered herself in a really comparable predicament after having devoted her complete life to her household.

“She bought a house, but her husband insisted on putting the deed in his name, arguing it’s shameful for a man to be living in a woman’s house. She did it, even though she had three daughters. When he passed away, his family came over and said: ‘We allow you to stay in this house.’ I thought to myself: ‘Oh wow. And what if they wouldn’t?’”

Still, in his movie, Nawal is just not the one one struggling. In a rich Christian family of her employer, one other girl is contemplating divorce.

“I am Muslim, but I was raised in a French Catholic school. Whichever religion you are following and whatever your social status, as a woman, you are always viewed as the weakest link. In my society, women feel that the law, or even their own family, is conspiring against them.”

Adding some thriller-ish components to the combination — “I needed her to be always dealing with a new problem. It’s a snowball effect,” he says — Al Rasheed additionally sought recommendation from feminine collaborators and pals, together with producer and co-writer Rula Nasser.

“Her input, as well as that of our French co-writer [Delphine Agut], was crucial. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to fully access that feminine voice, although my family was full of women. I would listen to their stories about men, about suffering and abuse: verbal, physical,” he recollects.

“In the past, I used to make corporate videos about successful Jordanian women. Some details that never made the cut stayed with me, like the fact that women are not allowed to put their underwear on display,” he says, referencing the movie’s opening scene when Nawal’s bra falls from her balcony solely to be picked by a stranger.

“In a way, it anticipates the rest of the story. She loses what’s rightfully hers because of a man,” he states.

But whereas he nonetheless wished to make all his characters really feel human, Al Rasheed approaches the longer term with warning.

“From how I see things, I am not that optimistic. We would need some big changes to happen. Right now, I feel the responsibility to reflect our reality. And make people think about where we are.”

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