INCH’ALLAH (Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette). 102 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (November 23). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
The title of Quebecois filmmaker Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette's first fiction feature translates as "God willing," but it wouldn't seem unreasonable for the characters in this West Bank-set drama to feel that God's abandoned the region altogether.
Inch'Allah follows Chloé (Evelyne Brochu, who spends most of the film looking stunned and/or wounded), a naive Canadian obstetrician who lives on the Israeli side of the border but works in a Ramallah refugee camp.
The contrast between the two worlds she slips between with such relative ease is striking: the former is a place for her to go nightclubbing with her border guard buddy Ava (Sivan Levy), the latter a place of almost ubiquitous hostility and insufficient resources where impoverished kids climb heaps of refuse for amusement or to scavenge what they can.
Whether Barbeau-Lavalette, whose background is in documentaries, illuminates or merely laments the conflict is hard to say. Chloé attempts to help a pregnant Palestinian woman and ultimately receives a short education in the impotence of Western interference.
As for the climactic suicide bombing teased at the top of the movie, the rationale offered seems simplistic. We're left with a feeling of tragedy and senselessness - take it or leave it.