TIFF 2016: In Between Review

Contemporary World Cinema 

Here’s what you need to do. You need to go and rent a room in a certain apartment in Tel Aviv. You’ll share it with three wonderful women: Lalia (Mouna Hawa), Salma (Sana Jammelieh), and Nur (Shaden Kanboura). You’ll smoke the occasional joint, laugh hysterically, listen to some amazing music, eat some awesome home-cooked food, and make friends for life. I need you to do something else, too. When the going gets tough, as it will, just be there, just listen – help if you can, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these three women can take care of themselves just fine.

In Between, a drama from Palestinian director Maysaloun Hamoud, follows the lives of these Israeli-Palestinian roommates as they share a flat together. Two already start the film as close friends – Lalia is a criminal lawyer, whereas Salma is a DJ and looking for consistent work where she’s respected. Both take no shit from anyone, and especially don’t take shit from the men in their lives who sometimes attempt to control them. Love is not easy to find, but with friends like these, your back is covered.

The trio of women are nothing short of spectacular, but Kanboura (Nur) is a standout as their new flatmate, who in a parallel to Girls, is more conservative and religious-minded (she’s the only one that wears a headscarf of the three). However, Nur defies stereotypes as she’s studying computer science, and has what could be considered an obscene toy. You just know that even as the others bemoan their new arrival, they’re all rebels – rebels of a society that would subjugate them and erase every ounce of individuality and creativity they have, for no reason more than their Palestinian heritage or the mere fact that they are women.


First and last month’s rent? Watch the film. Tell them you want to extend your lease as the runtime is not nearly long enough.


Sunday Sept. 11, 6:30pm @ TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Monday Sept. 12, 10:30am @ TIFF Bell Lightbox 3


Sunday Sept. 18, 6:30pm @ Scotiabank 13

Michael McNeely is a deaf-blind film critic and advocate for greater accessibility in our cinemas. Read more about his story here.