B for Boy has potential for great impact

A review by Brenda Daniels

B for Boy is a Nigerian feature film directed by Chika Anadu. It tells the story of a middle-class, modern couple torn by traditional Igbo customs. Amaka, at 39 years of age, is pregnant with the couple’s second child. Pressure from her husband’s extended family for the unborn child to be a boy begins to build.

In this patriarchal society, continuing the family name through a son is vital. But more than the men, it is the women who exert the influence, and in so doing perpetuate their own position as second rate citizens.

We see modern-minded Amaka beginning to buckle and, with the help of pther circumstances, resorts to devious methods to live up to the expectations of her relatives.

There is no moralising in this story. Anadu is careful to present the characters as multi-layered and human. The film is slow, with many pauses, all of which add to the tension and allow the viewer to think.

B for Boy is a fine work by this first-time director, who also produced the film, doing everything from casting to camera work. Its message to women is an important one. I hope B for Boy makes the impact it should.

B for Boy is the third film I have watched that is screened for the Durban International Film Festival this year. The festival began on 17 July and ends on 27 July.

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