“An inspiring and powerful debut”
‘Bar Bahar’ (In Between) is a refreshing, trendy ode to life, in which three young Palestinian women in Tel Aviv attempt to hang on to their self-esteem. Received several prizes, including the Jury Award for Best Film and the Youth Jury Award at the San Sebastián Film Festival.
Of the women Laila, Salma and Nour, the first is a chain-smoking, unruly barrister; the second a Christian-Arabian, lesbian DJ, and the third a devout, obedient Muslim who, even before their marriage, is being repressed by her future husband. The three women pursue love and freedom against a background full of cultural clashes.
Director Maysaloun Hamoud confronts her main characters with the limitations and prejudices of the conservative, religious culture in which they grew up, yet never portrays them as victims. With them, she explores possible ways out. One of these is the nightlife of Tel Aviv, which turns out to be the Berlin of the Middle East: colourful, libertine, hopeful. But it is also a city with a raw edge and a dark history, where even free spirits can become infected with religious conservatism.
Authors, artists and filmmakers enter a minefield when they take on a story set against the background of the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Director Hamoud knows about that – she became the first Palestinian in seventy years to have a fatwa issued against her. Devout Muslims were not pleased with the way she portrayed Islam in her film: as an institution that limits women’s freedom and autonomy.
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