Leila, Salma and Noor are the protagonists of the first film by Maysaloun Hamoud, a Palestinian born in Budapest who grew up in Israel. The three young women share an apartment in Tel Aviv and occupy themselves with love affairs, discotheques, studies and career ambitions.
Leila is a lawyer who prefers to be single rather than get engaged to a conservative guy. Salma is a lesbian DJ forced to reject the attempts of her (Christian) family to find her a husband. Noor, who comes from Umm al-Fahm, the Israeli conservative stronghold city of the Islamic Movement, is a student of computer science and a practicing Muslim, who is engaged to a fanatical fundamentalist who worries about the lifestyle of her new roommates. It’s nothing extraordinary, except that the three young women are Palestinians in Israel, and therefore they are forced to deal with the double discrimination of identity and sexism.
The film’s international title is In Between; in Italy, it’s Libere, disobeddienti, innamorate (Free, disobedient, in love). They are caught between two worlds: the traditional Muslim Arab culture and the Jewish Israeli culture. Bar Bahr, the original title, means in Arabic something like “between land and sea,” or in Hebrew “neither here nor anywhere” — a condition in which living a life according to one’s own desires becomes the most difficult battle.