Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... Storm Would Have to be Recast for Future 'X-Men' Movies. Who Would You Like to See Play Her? Storm Would Have to be Recast for Future 'X-Men' Movies. Who Would You Like to See Play Her? 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. Angelina Jolie Wants to Take on 'Africa' Angelina Jolie Wants to Take on 'Africa' Once Supporters Now Critical of Actress Daniele Watts, as Civil Rights Activists Call on Actress to Apologize Once Supporters Now Critical of Actress Daniele Watts, as Civil Rights Activists Call on Actress to Apologize Trailer: UP Original Movie 'My Other Mother' (Lynn Whitfield, Essence Atkins, Jasmine Guy) Debuts 9/21 Trailer: UP Original Movie 'My Other Mother' (Lynn Whitfield, Essence Atkins, Jasmine Guy) Debuts 9/21 Wendy Williams is Crushing the Competition in the Ratings, as Queen Latifah's Show Struggles In Last Place Wendy Williams is Crushing the Competition in the Ratings, as Queen Latifah's Show Struggles In Last Place '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) Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now '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) Watch First Full Trailer For 'Black-ish' Starring Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laurence Fishburne Watch First Full Trailer For 'Black-ish' Starring Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laurence Fishburne Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film 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) ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series 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... Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More) Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More)

Review: Chika Anadu's debut feature 'B For Boy' asks: "What is the worth of a womb?"

Shadow and Act By Nijla Mumin | Shadow and Act November 18, 2013 at 12:08PM

Review: Chika Anadu's debut feature 'B For Boy' asks: "What is the worth of a womb?"
3
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