Monday, February 16, 2015

Canadian Liberalism on Display in INCH'ALLAH

Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette's INCH'ALLAH is a typical wolf in sheep's clothing that is not a rarity in Canadian cinema.  The film portrays Chloé, a French Canadian doctor played by Évelyne Brochu, who works for the Red Crescent as a doctor and is providing pre-natal care for a Palastinian woman named Rand (Sabrina Ouazani).  The good doctor finds herself becoming more and more uncomfortable with the occupation of the West Bank, which is directly reflected by the developing tensions in her friendship with her room mate Ava (Sivan Levy), an IDF soldier at the checkpoint she uses daily to enter the occupied zone.
The film's basic notion is seemingly justified, perhaps even radical in comparison to other Western films about the Palestinian cause.  But further consideration reveals it is full of a more insidious agenda.  The film does provide a mature critique of the Israeli occupiers that goes far beyond the dynamic of good versus evil.  But the stereotypes of the West regarding Palestinian culture are absolutely bizarre and demeaning.  Children taunt women who chooses suicide bombing over living in communal squalor as an outcast.  Instead of trying to give a real examination of Palestinian or Israeli culture, the film is instead an examination of the righteous Gentile and her mental anguish as she tries to save everyone from the barbarism of the Levant.  Also, the film's ideology about gender is very shallow.  Brochu is responsible for the death of a newborn because of a tryst in an Israeli nightclub.  Rand is less of a character and closer to a projection of collected stereotypes about Arab women.  Ava is not a character of depth, she is merely created as a token opposition voice with very few independent thoughts of her own.  A lot more thought should have been in the script writing process to make this not a 21st century example of White Man's Burden.

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