B For Boy

b-for-boy-poster

The pressure of traditions is at the center of Chika Anadu’s debut feature. Set in Nigeria, this film centers on Amaka (Uche Nwadili), a wealthy wife who has a miscarriage. With her in-laws harassing her to produce a boy in order to keep the family name alive, she decides to hide her miscarriage and looks into adoption to replace the baby she lost.

Not a lot of Nigerian movies make it to our screens and B For Boy can certainly be credited for showing us something else than what we are accustomed to in the news – while there is an allusion to  scams, Ms. Anadu never attempts to create pity by showing poverty, which isn’t the subject here.

Amaka is a strong woman and a successful professional but she is still somewhat just seen as a wife in Nigeria, not only by men but also by women. Her husband is also stressed by his family to take a second wife, which underlines how women’s main purpose is to serve their husband.

Tackling all these themes from Amaka’s perspective, B For Boy is a bare film that focuses on her inner turmoil. The filmmaker finely translates her despair to satisfy her man by bending to tradition, even though he is her equal in the couple. What’s interesting is that there are no good or bad characters here: everybody  is trying to do the right thing, whether it’s to follow rules, survive or be respectful.

Despite a heavy subject, Ms. Anadu avoids pathos, her feature remaining lean and focused while the tension slowly increases.  As the picture moves forward and obstacles keep appearing, we get the feeling that Amaka will be drawn to an ineluctable conclusion, which occurs. I must admit the ending is cruel and a bit painful to watch. It offers  a logic but coward solution to Amaka – at this time B For Boy shows us how society can corrupt your values to make you blend in, even if you are strong-willed.

Finely acted and supported by a direction focusing on what’s essential, B For Boy is a powerful and subtle work which champions both women’s cause and Nigerian cinema with grace.

Director: Chika Anadu – Actors: Uche Nwadili, Nonso Odogwu – Running Time: 1:58 – Year: 2013 – Country: Nigeria

Watch the trailer below:

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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.
Fred Thom

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