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A tale of flatmates, boundaries and taboos

Going Out

STUCK IN A MOMENT The story of ‘In Between’ captures a moment in which secularism and equality movements are increasingly challenging traditional societal norms in the Middle East.

Ciara Moynihan

The Linenhall Film Club continues its spring 2018 season with Palestinian director Maysaloun Hamoud’s highly-claimed debut feature, ‘In Between’ (or ‘Bar Bahar’, to give its Arabic title) on Tuesday next, January 23, at 8pm.
At the heart of this film are three strong, independent minded Israeli-Palestinian women who are sharing an flat in the centre of Tel Aviv. Away from the watchful eyes of their families and the tethers of enforced tradition, they find themselves ‘in between’ the lives they want to lead and the restrictions still imposed on them by a close-minded society.
Sassy Laila, a successful lawyer, craves the love of a good man who she thinks she’s found in the apparently open-minded and handsome Ziad. Sullen Salma works at menial jobs in restaurants and bars hoping her long-held dream of being a DJ becomes a reality. The more traditional and reserved Nour is still studying for a degree and seeks a simple life. The three girls are rocked by a shocking series of events that will push their beliefs to the limit and change their lives forever.
‘In Between’ has been showered with praise internationally, winning awards at the Toronto, San Sebastian, Haifa and Cannes film festivals. In one review for The Guardian, Leslie Felperin wrote: “This delightful feature from Maysaloun Hamoud takes a seemingly more apolitical approach. And yet there’s a palpable subtext at play here about the oppressive treatment of women from the territory by their own people, affecting those leading secular lives as well as the religiously observant, Muslims and Christians alike.”
Other reviewers have variously described ‘In Between’ as ‘sparkling’, ‘compassionate and intelligent’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘spiky’. It also received a coveted 5-star rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The performances of the three leads, Mouna Hawa (Laila), Shaden Kanboura (Nour) and Sana Jammelieh (Salma), have also been hailed as ‘fantastic’ and ‘powerful’.
The film has widely been perceived as a compelling story carrying an important message about gender equality. As though underscoring that message’s urgency, the cast and director have endured death threats from conservative elements since it first screened, while Hamoud also received a fatwa – the first issued in Palestine since 1948.

The Linenhall Film Club screens every second Tuesday. Full details about the Linenhall Film Club and its forthcoming programme are available from The Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, on 094 9023733 or at www.thelinenhall.com.

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