Wrenching drama about the occupation, ‘Inch’Allah,’ has been consigned to ‘film festival purgatory’

on 12 Comments

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.

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12 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    April 15, 2013, 2:54 pm

    gripping trailer, i’d love to see this film. not seeing it on netfliix. hmm

    • HRK
      April 15, 2013, 3:20 pm

      I agree–a very gripping trailer.

      Poignant: “What will you tell them about us?”

    • Bumblebye
      April 15, 2013, 3:51 pm

      For me, the link to the full movie follows among those that pop up when the trailer finishes! 1 hour 41 mins long, so I’m gonna watch now fer free.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 15, 2013, 4:13 pm

        what? no fair! posts the link!

      • Bumblebye
        April 15, 2013, 5:27 pm

        Ohh, awright then:

        There’s a lot of French, and only French subs available for the Arabic tho.

      • Bumblebye
        April 15, 2013, 10:10 pm

        Ruined by the ending. Completely unnecessary playing with ‘stereotype’, imo wrecks the whole message it could have had.

      • Sumud
        April 15, 2013, 11:57 pm

        Here’s the link Annie, but the subtitles are in French:


        I say better to vote with your dollar anyway, the DVD is available to purchase on ebay. The listings I found didn’t mention if the film had English subtitles unfortunately. Film has a web site:


        …but unfortunately no info about the DVDs on it and no contact area to find out.

        If by chance the filmmakers or someone associated with the film find this post, please let us know! It looks like a great film.

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 15, 2013, 7:19 pm

      RE: “not seeing it on netfliix.”

      NETFLIX: “Inch’Allah”, 2012, NR
      A Canadian obstetrician living in Israel makes multiple passes through heavily guarded checkpoints to get to her job at a women’s health clinic in Palestine. But political tensions take on personal overtones when she befriends a pregnant patient.
      Cast: Evelyne Brochu, Sabrina Ouazani, Sivan Levy, Yousef Sweid, Hammoudeh Alkarmi, Zorah Benali, Carlo Brandt, Marie-Therese Fortin, Ahmad Massad, Yoav Donat
      Director: Anais Barbeau-Lavalette
      Genres: Foreign, Foreign Dramas, French Language, France
      Language: French
      This movie is: Understated
      Format: DVD availability date unknown
      NETFLIX LISTING – http://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/Inch-Allah/70260988

  2. DICKERSON3870
    April 15, 2013, 7:10 pm

    RE: More than any movie I’ve seen, “Inch’Allah” conveys the something of the feel of Palestinian life . . . trying cope under a system of domination and control far more sophisticated than anything South Africans could dream up. ~ Scott McConnell

    ALISTAIR CROOKE, London Review of Books, 03/03/11:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . It was [Ariel] Sharon who pioneered the philosophy of ‘maintained uncertainty’ that repeatedly extended and then limited the space in which Palestinians could operate by means of an unpredictable combination of changing and selectively enforced regulations, and the dissection of space by settlements, roads Palestinians were not allowed to use and continually shifting borders. All of this was intended to induce in the Palestinians a sense of permanent temporariness. . .
    . . . It suits Israel to have a ‘state’ without borders so that it can keep negotiating about borders, and count on the resulting uncertainty to maintain acquiescence. . .
    . . . Israel’s vice-premier, Moshe Ya’alon, was candid when asked in an interview this year: ‘Why all these games of make-believe negotiations?’ He replied:

    Because … there are pressures. Peace Now from within, and other elements from without. So you have to manoeuvre … what we have to do is manoeuvre with the American administration and the European establishment, which are nourished by Israeli elements [and] which create the illusion that an agreement can be reached … I say that time works for those who make use of it. The founders of Zionism knew … and we in the government know how to make use of time.

    SOURCE – http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n05/alastair-crooke/permanent-temporariness

    • kalithea
      April 16, 2013, 3:22 am

      Zionism over-estimated the effect of ‘maintained uncertainty’ and relentless oppression and underestimated Palestinian resilience, resistance and their love for their land. Jabotinsky would be surprised to learn that in the 21st Century Palestinians are not yet completely cleansed. Zionists make think they know how to “make use of time”; but time is just one factor not on their side.

  3. strangefriend
    April 15, 2013, 8:06 pm
  4. Ira Glunts
    April 15, 2013, 8:47 pm


    Don’t download anything. X out all windows that pop up and also the advertising window in the center of the video screen. Then just click the arrow in the center of the player or on the player at the left bottom.

    I just had a chance to watch 5 or 10 minutes.

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