Scott McConnell has a post up on a new movie out of Canada about the occupation, Inch’Allah, that has received precious little attention from prestige venues:
“Inch’Allah,” Anais Barbeau-Lavalette’s feature about Israel-Palestine, may be the strongest effort yet to convey the emotions of the supercharged struggle over land and dignity in the present period. For nearly a half-century, those who wanted justice in Palestine hoped that some representation of their narrative could reach the screen. They lived in the shadow, of course, of the epochal power of “Exodus,” probably the most effective propaganda film in world history….
More than any movie I’ve seen, “Inch’Allah” conveys the something of the feel of Palestinian life, sarcastic and bitter in the younger generations, old-fashioned in the older ones, trying cope under a system of domination and control far more sophisticated than anything South Africans could dream up.
The protagonist, Chloe, represents an element that has become a significant part of the struggle for Palestine, the Westerners who have gotten involved, often putting their lives on the line because however they might have felt about the establishment of Israel, they refuse to accept that this should mean Western complicity in Israel’s stamping on the Palestinians, forever. As Margaret Thatcher put it with precision, while Israel deserves to live in peace with secure borders, one must also work to fulfill legitimate Palestinian aspirations “because you cannot demand for yourself what you deny to other people.”..
This is a gripping movie. I’m not going to engage in spoiler-alert descriptions, but there are two scenes—one no more than a conversation between two women, the other a portrayal of a well known consequence of the occupation—which are as powerful as anything I’ve ever seen on screen. In terms of acting and production values, it is accomplished: you really do feel immersed in the texture of life, the sounds, the smells of the camps around Ramallah. It is sometimes slow, as indie films are. But at the very least it reaches the entertainment level of “No,” “Barbara,” “Rust and Bone,” “A Separation“—all widely available in theaters that show foreign and independent films, the last a winner of an Academy Award.
I mention this because as of this writing “Inch’Allah” has been consigned to film festival purgatory; I saw its single showing at Filmfest D.C. It was released last fall in Canada, and there is no guarantee that it will make into American theaters. This would be a tremendous shame.