Updated: Feb 22, 2021
I have participated in both of OxNet’s Global Film Screenings and Discussions so far which have been thoroughly enjoyable. The discussions in particular are challenging and stretch your thinking to new extents, allowing you to not only appreciate film in a new light but also analyse techniques and choices that the director has purposefully taken, which was completely new to me. This week, we watched and talked about the Israeli-French film ‘In Between’, the language being Arabic.
This film followed the lives of three young women in Tel Aviv: Layla, Salma and Nour. All three women are very different to each other, but what links them is their experiences of life as a woman in a highly patriarchal and rule-bound society.
Nour is possibly the embodiment of the adherence to tradition in Israel, almost always wearing her hijab and declining the offer to smoke. ‘In Between’ may illustrate this, as shown in the poster for the film too. Although Nour seems out of place initially, through Layla and Selma’s smoking and drinking habits, they are soon brought together through friendship and a real connection is shown between the women, especially after Nour’s traumatic experience of violence with her fiancé.
The film was extremely touching and overall a really great film, which evoked many opportunities for discussion. The discussion questioned our thinking and created counters to our arguments and further steps to consolidate our ideas about the themes. The part of the discussion which has really stuck with me and will continue to influence my thoughts from now on is shifts of power in the film, something also discussed in ‘La Noire de…’. Instead of only focusing on the patriarchy’s effect on women, the way in which men demoralise and dehumanise women in fact highlights their weaknesses, as they are often almost powerless without exploiting the women around them. Conversely, we see the inverse of this when Nour’s father defends her from her fiancé. Ultimately, I have learnt to question my own thinking and I have really gained an insight into a personally unknown world and culture.
- Harrison Cartwright, Participant