In Between (Bar Bahar)
Director: Maysaloun Hamoud
Cast: Mouna Howa, Sana Jammelieh, Shaden Kanboura
Language: Hebrew, Artabic with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Palestine-Israel-France 2016 102 mins. (15)
Winner: Young Talents Award, Women in Motion, Cannes Film Festival 2017; Winner Best debut feature film, Public Award, Best actress (to all 3), Haifa Film Festival 2016; Winner: EROSKI Youth Award, CICAE Award, Sebastiane Award, San Sebastian Film Festival ; Winner: NETPAC Award, Toronto Film Festival 2016; Winner: Special Jury Prize, Public Award, Zaghreb International Film Festival 2016.
Released by Peccadillo Pictures
Myasaloun Hamoud's feature debut 'In Between' is a compelling glimpse into the lives of three Palestinian women in the Yemenite Quarter of liberal minded Tel Aviv.
Chain smoking independent minded Lalia (Mouna Howa), a criminal lawyer who drinks, dances and parties has found the man of her dreams, film maker Ziad (Mahmoud Shalaby) whom she assumes will respect her independence. Salma (Sana Jammelieh) works in a bar, dreams of being a DJ and is gay. Nur (Shaden KanBoura), a studious practicing Muslim, admires Lalia and Salma from a distance and has agreed to an arranged marriage to fiancee Wissim (Henry Andrauses), a pillar of the community.
The three friends may share an apartment in liberal minded Tel Aviv but they're still second class citizens in both Israeli and male dominated Palestinian society. Ziad has lived abroad but he can't escape his conservative roots and accept Lalia's independent streak. Salma hides her lesbian relationship with trainee doctor Dounia (Ahlam Canaan) from her Palestinian Christian family who have invited suitors over to dinner. Nur will learn of her fiancee's brutal side.
Although somewhat over long, Maysaloun Hamoud's critique of patriarchal Palestinian society, with great lead performances, cleverly shows the overbearing weight of tradition in Palestinian society, attitudes to nationality and sexuality and how difficult it is, even for strong modern women to escape their conservative roots and be independent.
Irony rules. Maysaloun Hamoud has been issued with the first Palestinian Fatwa for 70 years and 'In Between' has been banned from screening in Umm ah Fahm, one of the largest Arab cities in Northern Israel.