The Israeli film Bar Bahar was shown in the US with the title "In Between" (2016). It was written and directed by Maysaloun Hamoud.
Three Palestinian women live in an apartment in Tel Aviv. Two of them (Leila Bakhr and Salma) have more or less abandoned traditional values. They drink, smoke, attend raves, and do coke. We assume that their love lives also don't correspond to traditional values, although that is implied, not stated.
The third woman is Noor, who is striving to maintain tradition. Noor is engaged to be married to a man who grudgingly accepts that fact that she is a computer scientist, but would much rather she stay at home once they are married. Not a good sign. The plot revolves around all three of the women, but especially Noor.
Three exceptional actors portray the women. Mouna Hawa plays Leila Bakhr, Sana Jammelieh is Salma, and Shaden Kanboura plays Noor. All three women are strong actors, but I was especially impressed by Shaden Kanboura.
I have to admit that, although I'm hardly a traditionalist, I wish that women who want to cast off tradition could find less toxic ways of demonstrating their independence. (One of my friends says that this is the point--if you want to cast off tradition, you cast it off and take any path you like, including toxic paths.) I see his point, but smoking will still take ten years off their non-traditional lives.
We saw this film at the beautiful JCC Hart Theater as part of the Rochester International Jewish Film Festival. This is always an excellent festival, but it has been even better this year. The festival is almost over as I write this review. We've seen eight films of the ten we plan to see, and I've given every one of the eight an IMDb rating of 9 or 10. If you live in Upstate New York, get on the RIJFF mailing list, because some of the movies will be re-shown later in the year. Also, if you love movies, plan to attend the RIJFF in 2018.
This film is carrying a strong IMDb rating of 7.5. That's good, but I think it's even better than that. If it's available for the small screen, see it that way. It's an exceptional film.
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