On the 19th of September, I was privileged enough to go to my first media screening of the film Inch’ Allah. Sitting in the Rialto cinema, it felt indescribable watching this film.
Inch’ Allah is set around a young Canadian obstetrician woman named Chloe, working in a clinic within a Palestinian refugee camp under the supervision of Michael, a French doctor.
The conflict in the area is a very predominant element throughout the film, and it shows how it effects Chloe, by the means of the people she encounters in her day-to-day life: Rand – a patient of Chloe’s; Faysal – Rand’s older brother, whom is a passionate resister; Safi – Rand’s younger brother, whom runs around dressed up like Superman; and Ava – Chloe’s neighbour and a young soldier working at the checkpoint into the camp.
The director – Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, whom is also a Canadian actress and screenwriter, born in Quebec, with the film career strong in her blood, is able to depict the story of the characters well.
Ironically, the character of Chloe could be considered a mirror image of the director herself, as while writing the script for the film, she was in Palestine working on a documentary film. “I had a kind of epiphany, a real flash of inspiration, about all the ambiguities of the situation.” Barbeau-Lavalette says. “I went back several times, to several cities. The more often I returned, the less I understood and the more I wanted to immerse myself.”
Throughout the film, the audience can relate to what and how the character of Chloe sees the events unfolding into the final climax of the film, being ‘the outsider looking in’ at the situation. Barbeau-Lavalette states in an interview about the changes in Chloe’s character. “I don’t see Chloe’s experience as a roller coaster, but rather a freefall. She is struck gradually by the conflict. She becomes a battlefield, loses her bearings and is overwhelmed by all of it.”
A majority of the film is spoken in either French or Arabic, though the feel of what is being said can still be seen throughout the plot of the film. It is one film that if you can tolerate reading the subtitles, a certain mind opening watch.
First released in September 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival, Inch’ Allah has gained critical praise at the Canadian Screen Awards, up with five nominations including Best Picture, Best Cinematography and Best Actress in a Leading Role (for Évelyne Brochu as Chloe). Inch’ Allah will be out in New Zealand cinemas on October 31st, and I do highly suggest that it be seen. It is, least to me a real mind opener in the fact that life’s situations can have their effect on us all, and they change us, whether for good or bad. That is completely up to the person.