To circumcise or not to circumcise, that is the question pondered by filmmaker and future mother Danae Elon and her husband Philippe. The couple, who hope to discover the sex of their baby at birth, are on two sides of the issue. Philippe, who is himself circumcised and a Jew of Algerian decent, explains that it is a cultural tradition for him. For Danae, submitting a newborn to this ritual would be absurd and irrational. This documentary follows her humorous and instructive exploration of this practice. In her quest she will meet rabbis, imams, doctors, theologians and parents. She will discover that myths and rituals in many great cultures and religions surround these few centimetres of skin.
A word from Tënk
With It’s a Boy, we bear witness to two simultaneous gestations: that of the filmmaker, pregnant with her first child, and that of the film, her third feature, born of the very pregnancy it recounts. We follow Danae Elon, future mother, through her reflections on circumcision as she wonders what the future will hold for her child.
Elon hides no element of her creative process from the viewer: any question could lead to an exploration that takes on airs of an investigation as she quests, camera in hand, to learn from others, without necessarily providing a conclusive answer at the end. In her filmography, each film is a journey, sprinkled liberally with detours and with no real destination in mind.
Despite all the external opinions that Elon collects, this intimate topic is mainly discussed with her family. Much as in P.S. Jerusalem, her loved ones are at the heart of the film, shot with immense tenderness. Planted in the centre of the living room, the camera acts as “an extension of [Elon’s] heart.” As she puts it, documentary filmmaking is more of a lifestyle than a career.
The ending may well leave you perplexed. Nonetheless, It’s a Boy is a documentary labour of love that extends beyond the bounds of its own narrative.
Negotiator, urban gleaner & cinephile