Maysaloun Hamoud's uncompromising debut depicts aspects 'hidden' in modern Arab-Israeli society which has caused more than a stir on social media. Some naysayers have suggested that this arguably bold representation is far from "meaningful" art.
In Between (Bar Bahar, in Arabic and Hebrew with subtitles) looks at culture clash and tolerance with a raw, honest verisimilitude set in Tel Aviv tempered in a less solemn mood.
The collision of conservatism through religion and Islamic ideology and hedonism has a potent distaff focus from the characters of Noor, Leila, and Salma.
Leila is the erotically enabled shrewd negotiating legalese, while Salma is a Christian-raised lesbian disc-jockey who both embrace life with a vivacious uninhibitedness for the Palestinian nocturnal diversions when it comes to dress, relationships, as well as alcohol and drug use.
The unmethodical storytelling pivots on the veiled, traditional (hailing from a Muslim stronghold of Umm al-Fahm) Noor coming to live with these young women while she completes her graduate studies.
Noor is surprised at first about the inclinations and views of her new roommates as she deals with tetchy, spiritually minded fiancé Wissam (Henry Andrawes). Having a girlfriend over at her parents turns out to be not such a smart idea which leads to defiance and more unnerving interlude ending up with an affecting shower scene.
The mid-thirties Galilee-born filmmaker has a pulse on the isolation and affectionate difficulties that this trio shares, especially when it comes to gender and race, as well as religion. It all wouldn't work as well as it does in breaching prohibitions from the vivid esprit and sensitively wrought performances of Mouna Hawa as Leila, Sana Jammelieh as Salma, and particularly Shaden Kanboura as Noor. Because of the fleet-of-foot editing In Between proves more absorbing in a production stressed well by Itay Gross's vibrant and nimble lensing.