Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Complete ‘Extant’ Series w/Halle Berry Coming Out On Blu-Ray DVD in Dec. The Complete ‘Extant’ Series w/Halle Berry Coming Out On Blu-Ray DVD in Dec. 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Premieres on HBO Tonight (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Premieres on HBO Tonight (Trailer) Weekend B.O. Sept. 12-14 (Will 'No Good Deed's' Success Help Make Taraji P. Henson an A-lister?) Weekend B.O. Sept. 12-14 (Will 'No Good Deed's' Success Help Make Taraji P. Henson an A-lister?) Producer Charles Belk and Actress Daniele Watts Apparently "Fit the Description" (Just Another Day in the Neighborhood) Producer Charles Belk and Actress Daniele Watts Apparently "Fit the Description" (Just Another Day in the Neighborhood) TIFF 2014 Review: 'Top Five' is Chris Rock's Funniest Movie in Years - If Not Ever TIFF 2014 Review: 'Top Five' is Chris Rock's Funniest Movie in Years - If Not Ever What’s the Big Secret That Got Those ‘No Good Deed’ Screenings Canceled? What’s the Big Secret That Got Those ‘No Good Deed’ Screenings Canceled? Taraji P. Henson Executive Produces Indie ‘Seasons of Love’ (Appears Alongside Gladys Knight, LeToya Luckett) Taraji P. Henson Executive Produces Indie ‘Seasons of Love’ (Appears Alongside Gladys Knight, LeToya Luckett) TV: New Corrections Officer for 'Orange, Another ABC Drama for Shonda Rhimes, SNL's 1st Black 'Weekend Update' Anchor TV: New Corrections Officer for 'Orange, Another ABC Drama for Shonda Rhimes, SNL's 1st Black 'Weekend Update' Anchor 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now It's a Done Deal - Paramount Pictures Will Distribute Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Worldwide It's a Done Deal - Paramount Pictures Will Distribute Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Worldwide Black Kids from Ferguson Speak Out in 'Hey White People' Comedic Video Educating Whites on Racism Black Kids from Ferguson Speak Out in 'Hey White People' Comedic Video Educating Whites on Racism 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Watch First Trailer for Tyler Perry's New OWN TV Drama 'If Loving You Is Wrong' Watch First Trailer for Tyler Perry's New OWN TV Drama 'If Loving You Is Wrong' OWN Announces Cast for New Drama Series 'If Loving You is Wrong' From Tyler Perry OWN Announces Cast for New Drama Series 'If Loving You is Wrong' From Tyler Perry Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

AFI Fest 2013 Review: 'B For Boy' asks: "What is the worth of a womb?"

Shadow and Act By Nijla Mumin | Shadow and Act November 15, 2013 at 9:48PM

What is the worth of a womb? In Chika Anadu’s feature debut, B for Boy, a woman’s womb becomes the source of great expectation for the birth of a son.
1
chika

What is the worth of a womb? In Chika Anadu’s feature debut, B for Boy, a woman’s womb becomes the source of great expectation for the birth of a son. It also becomes the source of great disdain, frustration, and stigma. Anadu explores the idea that a woman, her womb and a birth could somehow be wrong if a boy is not born. It is an honest, affecting portrayal of the ways that culture, religion, and patriarchy combine to both taint and question the very natural birthing process.

Amaka, played powerfully by newcomer Uche Nwadili, is an affectionate, independent wife and mother living in a contemporary middle class Nigerian community. She is seven months pregnant, but is resistant to get an ultrasound, to the dismay of her mother-in-law. She comes home from work and greets a Nigerian cleaning lady and young daughter in a house full of long walls and strange angles.

Soon, the pressure increases and her mother-in-law (Ngozi Nwaneto) warns that the birth of a son is the only chance to carry on their family name and legacy. If no son is born, Amaka’s husband Nonso (Nonso Odogwu) should take a second wife. The potential second wife- a younger, smaller Nigerian woman- abruptly shows up for breakfast one morning, upsetting Amaka. It is a scene of great humor and also sadness.

After all, Amaka and Nonso are shown to have a happy marriage and neither want to ruin it, so why would they? When Amaka finally gets an ultrasound and learns the baby is a boy, she beams with happiness, for her womb will be celebrated.

Soon after, she has a miscarriage. Her face is a canvas of confusion and anguish as the doctor explains that there’s no cause for the placental infection that damaged her womb. Shot mostly in a close profile, it is a deeply felt scene. Though the miscarriage is not her fault, there is the overwhelming expectation and tradition that will say it was.

In B For Boy, Chika Anadu makes a film that both critiques traditional customs and people who adhere to them, and also elevates their complexity, similar to Andrew Dosunmu’s Mother of George, which explores a Nigerian couple’s intimate struggle to conceive a child amidst cultural pressures. These are films about the ways that humanity and culture clash, with women bearing the brunt of the blame and mother-in-laws evoking distress in the name of tradition.

At almost two hours in length, the movie seems intent on showing the extent to which Amaka will go to conceal the truth of her miscarriage, but some scenes seem to belabor the point. A scene in which Amaka touches her childless stomach in a cracked mirror was all I needed to understand her plight. It was strangely fascinating to watch her perform a fake pregnancy, but it is also a bit frustrating, perhaps intentionally. We naturally want to proclaim that is not Amaka’s fault, that she should not to have be rejected from her community, and that having a girl is not wrong, but we can’t. So, we watch as she does what she has to do to redeem her womanhood, and her womb.

This article is related to: Chika Anadu


Shadow & ActNewsletter