Kering Presented “Women In Motion” Screening of “In Between” at The Crosby Hotel.
Maysaloun Hamoud’s most recent direction takes the viewer to a pseudo-progressive Palestine, a place where nightlife is filled with drugs, sex, booze, and independent women. And yet, this seemingly liberating lifestyle holds much of the same oppressive tendencies of the patriarchy, sexual assault, heteronormative gender-roles, and familial expectancies. For Nour, Layla, and Salma, life is a balancing act as each of these three roommates tries to live their lives apart from their families and spouses. Nour, a character that is surprised at the amount of “unholy,” vices her roommates indulge in, isn’t bothered by the substances. She prefers living with the other two girls in Tel Aviv rather than in the confines of a conservative setting, though she herself does not indulge in the same things that her roommates do. Layla, a woman that finally finds the man of her dreams, one that does not seek to change her, is disillusioned when her boyfriend, a faux-liberal, attempts to force her to give up vices on account of societal pressure. And Salma, a closet lesbian, attempts to live a secret life away from her parents, which inevitably shakes her relationship with her family. Bar Bahar brings up prevalent problems with respect to the societal expectation of women in the middle east, though these aspects of these problems can likely be extended to women all of over the world. The film also shows a bit of the tension between Palestinians and Israelis, as the separation of cultures within the same geographical confinements leads to the oppression of Palestinians.
Hamoud employs a wonderful soundtrack to push her film along. The soundtrack includes a Palestinian rap band – “DAM” that voices feminism as well as the treatment of Palestinians in Israel. Hamoud is a DJ herself, and plans to DJ her next film premiere. Her personal taste bleeds through into the film, and it seems likely that she uses music as a means of sonically describing the emotions and feeling of her characters, especially with regard to feminism. I asked Hamoud how she went about picking the tracks for the film, and she explained that her experience as a DJ affected her process immensely. Though many of the chosen tracks are EDM or Hip-Hop in nature, there are definitely times where the film relies on traditional sounds to explicate certain scenes. There are times in film where Hamoud seems to be speaking on the powerful role music has in the role of liberation. One of the purest moments in the film is when Nour, a tightly-strung woman, lets her hair down and dances to music within the confines of her own home. Her roommate comments that, upon seeing Nour, she has gotten her heart back. Bar Bahar is a moving film, and though difficult to watch at times, it is a most necessary voice in world of Brown feminism, and feminism in general.