Inshallah a Boy is the rousing debut feature by Jordanian director Amjad Al Rasheed, in which a woman and her daughter face destitution after the sudden passing of her husband unless she’s able to give birth to a son.
Inshallah a Boy
Amjad Al Rasheed
Marking the arrival of a sensitive and astute new voice in cinematic realism, Inshallah a Boy is the rousing debut feature by Jordanian director Amjad Al Rasheed — the first-ever feature from Jordan to premiere at Cannes — grounded in a wrenching lead performance from Palestinian actor Mouna Hawa (A Gaza Weekend, TIFF ’22).
The narrative is set in motion when Nawal (Hawa) is left facing destitution after the sudden passing of her husband. In the absence of any formal inheritance agreement, her brother-in-law Rifqi (Hitham Omari) is quick to swoop in under the auspices of current inheritance laws to exercise his claim on not just the couple’s apartment, but guardianship of Nawal’s young daughter Nora (Seleena Rababah). The only way to forestall the seemingly inevitable eviction is if Nawal can give birth to a son, a desperate objective that forces her into a series of rash situations that challenge not only her faith but the limits of her strength.
At once contained and quietly kaleidoscopic, Inshallah a Boy offers a cultural cross-section of contemporary Amman — from the wealthy Christian household where Nawal works and where she is brought together with a woman experiencing a personal crisis that could help her situation — to cramped legal offices and back-alley clinics.
With a lucid eye, Al Rasheed effectively captures Nawal’s mounting claustrophobia, as immediate and extended family, neighbours, and even a mouse that has taken over her kitchen, box her into an ever tighter space. But it is in the film’s profound moments of solidarity where Al Rasheed offers glimmers of hope and possibility.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival