Inch'Allah Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette

Inch'Allah Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette
In an effort to remove bias and broad politics, although subtler principles and philosophy are omnipresent, this pseudo-redundant look at the Israel-Palestine conflict is filtered through the eyes of an unbiased and primarily humanist Canadian doctor residing in Israel, but working in occupied territory.

While understandably shocked by her surrounding conditions, Chloe (Evelyne Brochu) is also naïve about the situation, dividing her time between Israeli friend Ava (Sivan Levy) and Palestinian patient and friend Rand (Sabrina Ouazani), when not working.

Chloe, much like many nations throughout the world, makes the mistake of trying to bridge the gap and establish good faith between the endlessly feuding sides by having Ava use her border-crossing sway to have Rand and her family visit the land where they once resided. Worse, she winds up in the middle of a birthing crisis when Rand starts having contractions during a mass blockade at the border.

Because every reaction and demonstrated behaviour on either side could easily be interpreted as bias when handling such a politically charged topic, writer/director Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette is careful to balance every character with kindness and flaws. Like Chloe, whose idealism ultimately leads to her failure and maturation, both Ava and Rand demonstrate initial optimism and sincerity that quickly turn sour when the reality of their situation imposes on their relationships and potential well being.

While thoughtfully rendered, the severity of it all, mixed with an overall fear of offending or choosing sides, limits the intended power of the piece. Undeniably, the prospect of endangered babies or children being run over by military vehicles is horrifying, but the focus on the dramatic events themselves rather than the instigators or cause limits effectiveness. It's as though these well-balanced characters are merely ciphers for a general message of frivolity, which makes it difficult to care.

Quite possibly the only thing thought provoking about this mostly forgettable "issue" film is the message that attempting to reconcile or intervene in religious war is pointless. With slightly more flourish and austerity, Barbeau-Lavalette seems to be saying, in a roundabout way, "screw 'em." (eOne)