Challenging Patriarchal Norms: A Film Review of 'Inshallah A Boy'

Empowering Resilience: Inshallah A Boy

A film review by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Stanford University

In the first-ever Jordanian film to be showcased at Cannes, Inshallah A Boy إن شاء الله ولد director Amjad Al Rasheed explores the struggles of a widow as she confronts oppressive patriarchal laws. According to certain Jordanian laws, if a woman does not have a son, her husband's family is entitled to a portion of the inheritance. This premise sets the stage for Nawal (played by Mouna Hawa), who, recently widowed, finds herself entangled in a legal battle with her brother-in-law, Rifqi (portrayed by Haitham Omari). Her primary goal is to retain the only home she and her daughter have known.

In her fight against the system, Nawal resorts to deceit by fabricating a pregnancy, a ploy aimed at postponing the court proceedings for nine months in the hopes of potentially bearing a male heir. Inspired by the real-life experiences of a close relative of the director, Inshallah A Boy delivers a poignant and socially conscious critique of the structural oppression faced by some women and girls in Jordan. With a social realist approach, the film sheds light on the challenges they encounter within the framework of the country's legal and cultural norms.

Amjad Al-Rasheed, Director of Inshallah A Boy  (AFP)

The success of this film is primarily due to its Director Amjad Al Rasheed, a filmmaker known for his compelling storytelling and dedication to shedding light on social issues. His storytelling approach combines realism and emotional depth, allowing audiences to connect with the characters and the social issues they face. Al Rasheed's films often tackle themes of gender inequality, women's rights, and cultural oppression, highlighting the struggles faced by individuals within these contexts.

Short clip from Inshallah A Boy

Here is my interview with Amjad Al Rasheed, Director of this film, recorded in Amman in July 2023:

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