- Title: Film on Arab-Israli women in Tel Aviv tests taboos
- Date: 30th January 2017
- Summary: NAZARETH, ISRAEL (JANUARY 26, 2017) (REUTERS) PEOPLE AT MOVIE THEATRE FILMS POSTER POSTER, WITH "SOLD OUT" STAMPS ON FIRST TWO DATES OF SCREENING VARIOUS OF PEOPLE ENTERING MOVIE THEATRE FILM DIRECTOR, MAYSALOUN HAMOUD, GESTURING TO SOMEONE
- Embargoed: 13th February 2017 16:11
- Keywords: Film Israel Arabs controversy
- Location: NAZARETH, UMM AL-FAHM AND TEL AVIV, ISRAEL
- City: NAZARETH, UMM AL-FAHM AND TEL AVIV, ISRAEL
- Country: Israel
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001619T2S5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A film about Arab-Israeli women who left their villages to live in Tel Aviv has angered some traditionalists in Israel's Arab community, who say its depiction of homosexuality and independent single women is insulting.
"In Between", which has an Arab director and a Jewish producer, won best film at the Haifa International Film Festival in October and accolades in Toronto and San Sebastian with its portrayal of three very different women who share an apartment in Israel's most liberal city.
Layla is a lawyer and liberal Muslim who parties every night, Salma, from a traditional Christian family, is gay and works as a DJ and bartender, and Nour is a devout Muslim computer student whose Muslim fiance rapes her.
"They face difficulties within their society, including the customs and traditions that they have chosen to not live by. At the same time, they face racism in Tel Aviv as Palestinians," director Maysaloun Hamoud told Reuters.
"They just can't win."
The film addresses issues that some Israeli Arabs prefer not to see on screen. Arabs, the vast majority of them Muslim, comprise about 20 percent of Israel's population of 8.5 million.
The conservative leadership of Umm al-Fahm, a large Arab Israeli town which features in the film, has called for the film to be boycotted.
"We support art that has a purpose and art that criticises the negative aspects of our society, but we oppose a movie that distorts the image of Umm al-Fahm," said Abed Al-Monem Fuad, a spokesman for the municipality.
Sana Jammelieh, who plays Salma, said it was time for Israel's Arab community to address the movie's subject matter.
"No one talks about this category of people and they should talk about them. They are considered taboos, such as homosexuality, and also the girl who parties, stays out late and drinks is considered a taboo, also Saleh, the gay guy. All of these people are considered taboos and avoid being talked about. They should be talked about and played in the cinema so people would get introduced to them more," she said.
Mouna Hawa, who plays Layla, expected the criticism but said the film "reflects a lot of our real lives" and that the effort was worth it.
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