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    Maysaloun Hamoud: Palestinian director on plaudits, death threats and big screen success

    Palestinian director Maysaloun Hamoud's debut film has polarized opinion. "In Between," or "Bar Bahar," to give its Arabic title, has been showered with plaudits internationally and scooped awards at film festivals in Canada, Spain and Israel.
    Yet among some members of the Palestinian community, it has faced calls to be boycotted. Hamoud even says she has received death threats on social media.

    The film, which was released earlier this year and is currently showing at cinemas in the UK, details the lives of three very different young Palestinian woman who live together in a Tel Aviv apartment.

    Laila (Mouna Hawa) is a liberally minded lawyer. Salma (Sana Jammelieh) dreams of being a DJ and struggles to tell her Christian family she is gay. Nour (Shaden Kanboura) is from a conservative Muslim background and due to marry a controlling fiance.

     

    With Laila and Salma ensconced within the Palestinian party scene, "In Between" depicts alcohol consumption, drug taking, casual sex and homosexuality -- topics Hamoud admits are seldom touched on in Arabic-language films.
    It also addresses sexual violence, the difficulties often faced by young Palestinians living in Israel and the battle between tradition and modernity, between young and old.

    The town of Umm-Al-Fahm, which has an overwhelmingly Arab-Israeli population and where the character Nour describes being from, took offense to how it felt it was characterized in the film.

    A statement from the town's leaders carried by the AFP News agency earlier this year described "In Between" as "without the slightest element of truth" and encouraged citizens to boycott it.
    CNN spoke with Tel Aviv-based Hamoud about her film (which she hopes is the first of a trilogy), the reaction to it and why she confronted such sensitive subject matters.

     

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