The power of cinema in Jordan holds significant cultural, artistic, and societal importance. Jordan has a rich cinematic history, and the country has produced a number of acclaimed filmmakers and notable films that have made an impact both domestically and internationally.
Cinema in Jordan has been instrumental in reflecting and exploring various aspects of Jordanian traditions, heritage, and social issues. It has served as a platform for storytelling, promoting dialogue, and shedding light on important topics. Films from Jordan often tackle themes such as identity, cultural customs, social change, and the challenges faced by different individuals and communities. In recent years, Jordanian cinema has gained recognition and accolades at prestigious international film festivals. Films like “Theeb” (2014), directed by Naji Abu Nowar, and “Blessed Benefit” (2016), directed by Mahmoud Al Massad, have received nominations and awards, bringing global attention to the talent and creativity of Jordanian filmmakers.
This year, at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, yet another film from Jordan, “Inshallah a Boy”, proved that the country’s cinema is a force to be reckoned with. Amjad Al Rasheed’s (“The Translator”) new work captures the essence of Jordanian culture, addresses the social issues present within the country, and also denounces the patriarchal society that many countries still struggle with, including Jordan.
“Inshallah a Boy” revolves around Nawal (Mouna Hawa), a strong-willed woman who finds herself at the crossroads of tradition and modernity after the loss of her husband, Ahmad (Mohammed Al Jizawi). In her community, where having a son is considered a game changer, Nawal becomes determined to safeguard her daughter and home against a society that places immense value on male heirs. However, her journey takes an unexpected turn when she discovers that her rightful inheritance is being unjustly withheld. With her husband’s brother, who is determined to get his hands on Ahmad’s inheritance, which includes Nawal’s apartment, the young woman decides to lie about her pregnancy so that she can have extra time to resolve her legal issues. But can a lie change the way that a male-run country treats women? Will Nawal manage to protect her daughter and what is rightfully hers?
The film delves into several thought-provoking themes, touching upon the deep-rooted societal norms and struggles faced by women. The story highlights the importance of gender equality and challenges the notion that a male heir is necessary for success and security. Through Nawal’s journey, the film prompts viewers to question and re-evaluate the prevailing biases and expectations surrounding inheritance, highlighting the need for progress and change. Nawal serves as the driving force behind “Inshallah a Boy”. Her determination and unwavering spirit in the face of adversity make her a compelling and relatable protagonist. As Nawal fights for her rightful inheritance, she confronts the patriarchal forces that seek to limit her agency and control her fate. Through her struggles, she emerges as an inspiring symbol of resilience; she is a beacon of hope and strength.
Amjad Al Rasheed’s direction shines throughout the film, capturing the essence of the characters and the society they inhabit. With his skilled storytelling, Al Rasheed paints a vivid picture of the challenges faced by Nawal, juxtaposing traditional values with the desires and dreams of an individual determined to secure her family’s future. The cinematography and visual aesthetics further enhance the emotional impact of the narrative, immersing viewers in Nawal’s world.
“Inshallah a Boy” provides a platform for critical social commentary, reflecting on the struggles faced by individuals in patriarchal societies where gender biases persist. The film emphasises the need for change and challenges viewers to examine their own beliefs and biases. By exploring the cultural and societal context in which Nawal’s story unfolds, the film opens up conversations about gender roles, inheritance rights, and the pursuit of gender equality.
“Inshallah a Boy” is a powerful film that brings to light the complex interplay between tradition, gender, and inheritance. Through the captivating story of Nawal, the film challenges societal norms and offers a poignant exploration of the struggles faced by women in their fight for equality and justice. With its compelling narrative, strong performances, and important message, “Inshallah a Boy” is a cinematic triumph that leaves a lasting impact on its viewers, inviting them to contemplate the importance of breaking free from the constraints of outdated gender roles.
Written by Maggie Gogler
Featured image courtesy of PR Factory
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