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A 30 year-old scholar, intelligent and beautiful yet socially crippled, is forced to attend a bachelorette party where her quest for authenticity leads to an unavoidable confrontation with old acquaintances.
Magalie Lépine Blondeau,
Chloe is a young Canadian doctor who divides her time between Ramallah, where she works with the Red Crescent, and Jerusalem, where she lives next door to her friend Ava, a young Israeli soldier. Increasingly sensitive to the conflict, Chloe goes daily through the checkpoint between the two cities to get to the refugee camp where she monitors the pregnancies of young women. As she becomes friends with Rand, one of her patients, Chloe learns more about life in the occupied territories and gets to spend some time with Rand's family. Torn between the two sides of the conflict, Chloe tries as best she can to build bridges between her friends but suffers from remaining a perpetual foreigner to both sides. Following up her acclaimed debut-feature Le ring, filmmaker Anais Barbeau-Lavalette delivers with Inch'Allah the moving tale a young woman's encounter with war and its everyday life. Avoiding any political agenda, Chloe's story questions how one can internalize a foreign conflict without ... Written by
Topical films are supposed to be important because they speak to compelling questions of the day like the struggle for justice for Palestinian people. This film however doesn't do the topic justice because up until two thirds (at least) of the way into it there is no real dramatic conflict: no tension, no story and a whole bunch of relationships that add up to absolutely nothing. Only when the lead character, a Quebecoise doctor working in the Territories has to save a dying Palestinian baby at one of the notorious Israeli border crossings does the film finally take off. Up until that point the lead actress plays one note and is so wooden in her performance that I actually found myself counting the moles on her neck to keep myself engaged.
The film tries to tackle the moral question as to whether terrorist acts are justifiable by Palestinians living under brutal oppression. It doesn't take much of a clear stand until the final moments of the film but (without spoiling the ending) it seems to imply that terrorist acts against Israelis are justified. There is a thin line here between what the character finds justifiable and the point the filmmaker is trying to make. Nonetheless, in the end the filmmaker seems to justify the murder of non-combatants which I think reflects both a deadly oversimplified understanding of the politics of the region and is morally indefensible.
Ironically the director is crippled by the same "white man among the savages" colonialist perspective as her protagonist. (Which is why these films generally get funding even when the purport to come out on the side of the colonized as in Dances with Wolves, Un Dimanche à Kigali, etc.). That said, the Palestinian cast is excellent, the cinematography, art direction and location shooting are production accomplishments. Unfortunately the promise of being able to learn meaningfully about an important current political and social topic were not delivered on. Even as some viewers may feel morally cleansed having gone through the experience of watching this film, in the end they will most likely not have learned much about it's context nor become sufficiently motivated to act or question the complicity of themselves or their own governments in various forms of national or racial oppression.
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