BOY OR GIRL (1968) Israel TV
Writer/ Director/ Producer: Mira Hamermesh
Commissioned by Israel TV, the film deals with the gender politics of the birth of a new citizen in a country on permanent war footing. It focuses on a young couple, each from a different ethnic background, whose romance began while serving in the army.
The film explores sex preferences as expressed within the family and society, with particular emphasis on demographics, economic needs and security/ military concerns. Without exception, the bias leans strongly towards preferences for a male. Only the demands of the labour force and biological reproductive issues call for the birth of a female citizen.
Israel being a country of universal military conscription, discussions organised between make and female recruit proved story. Many of the young women claimed the right to share in the duties of the battlefield.
It’s a true suspense story, as we follow the seven-months pregnant Miri until the delivery of her baby. The question, “son or daughter?” hangs in the air. The film ends with a rather beautiful sequence of the birth of the new citizen and the triumphant father who beams the proud news into the telephone: “It’s a boy!”