Even as women continue to be underrepresented in the film industry, Palestinian director Maysaloun Hamoud’s new movie is winning international acclaim — and puts Palestinian women front and center. +972 Magazine sat down with Hamoud to talk feminism, liberation and Palestinian society.
One of the strongest sensations I experienced during my first viewing of “In Between” was the discomfort that accompanies the exposure of a secret. A personal, intimate secret, which several women dear to me have kept close to their chest for many years, and which has suddenly been revealed in full onscreen. And not just onscreen: the secret has gone to festivals across the world, collecting prizes, winning plaudits, covered widely in local and international media, and now playing in cinemas across Israel (and countless other countries around the globe). After spending years on end in the shadows, film director Maysaloun Hamoud one day appeared with her debut feature, and killed the secret.
“In Between” tells the stories of three young Palestinian women — Layla from Nazareth, Salma from Tarshiha, and Nour from Umm al-Fahm — who share an apartment in Tel Aviv’s Yemenite Quarter (“in Manshiyya, next to the Hassan Bek Mosque,” as one of them refers to it in the film). The plot follows the developing relationships between the girls, and in particular the clashes that characterize their lives: between conservatism and liberalism, between the village, family and the city, and a great deal between men and women.
It’s difficult to say any more about the plot without ruining the surprises that await the viewer. However, it is certainly possible to say that in a world full of cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, parties, guys, lesbian relationships and sex, each one of the girls needs to look over her shoulder constantly, to make sure that there aren’t any distant cousins in a Tel Aviv bar who will report back to the family where and with whom she has gone out.
I know these women, and this looking over the shoulder. Hamoud herself says that her family never learned of her city life, and that her father would often receive reports that she’d been seen drinking beer — reports she quickly denied. And now, everything is out in the open — an entire world that no one had previously spoken of or written about —...Read More