Maysaloun Hamoud’s In Between is a story of three Palestinian women living in present-day Tel Aviv, although what they’re metaphorically “between” isn’t the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — which is hardly mentioned at all — but rather the fluctuating levels of agency and self-determination women are allowed. Leila (Mouna Hawa) is a criminal lawyer who knows how to rock a leather skirt, and who also enjoys nightclubbing and the occasional snort ’n’ shag. Her roommate Salma (Sana Jammelieh) is a DJ, chef, and bartender, and a closeted lesbian who hails from a liberal Christian family.
Into their lives and apartment comes the modest, chador-wearing Noor (Shaden Kanboura), a devout Muslim woman soon to marry an even more devout Muslim man (Henry Andrawes). In a way, In Between caps an unintentional trilogy begun with current Oscar-contender The Breadwinner and the just-released Tehran Taboo. The fully animated Breadwinner is about life for women under the Taliban in 2001 Afghanistan, whereas the rotoscoped Tehran Taboo looks at the e’er-so-slightly-less repressive regime of modern-day Iran. But Hamoud’s entirely live-action picture shows a society that allows women more freedom, but which only makes the pitfalls and hypocrisies stand out more. It’s also worth noting that she received a fatwa and death threats for In Between, a clear sign she’s doing something right.
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.