by Chris Bertram on August 18, 2010

Highly recommended – Ajami, a film largely set in a part of Jaffa in Israel. Ajami is from the Tarrantino/Crash/Amores Perros school of multiple overlapping narratives shot from different points of view. It is basically unscripted and uses non-professional actors and improvisation. The movie concerns an Arab family in the Ajami neighbourhood who are engaged in a feud with a Bedouin clan. Drug dealing, a disappeared Israeli soldier and his relative in the police, romantic entanglements across the Jewish/Arab and Muslim/Christian divides are the other elements in the mix. I think that’s about all I can say about content without spoiling the plot. Politics are there, inevitably, but largely by implication – the film isn’t shouting a message at you. Get to see it if you possibly can.



Gingi 08.18.10 at 8:29 pm

I agree. It’s an amazing filmed (which happens to depicts the place a grow up in).


Ingrid Robeyns 08.18.10 at 8:37 pm

After this warm recommendation I’d loved to see it, but in the Netherlands it is only screened (for the moment) in Bussum, Groningen, and Zwolle. Too bad.


Bloix 08.19.10 at 3:08 am

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In spite of its acute perception of how family and social life are distorted on both sides of the divide by military occupation and discrimination, at its core Ajami is a thriller, which forces it into conventional plot lines involving ironic twists of fate that were not terribly engaging. For me the film’s most serious flaw was the decision to make the motor of the plot a Christian Arab bar owner who turns out to be a mobster. To have the source of the misery in the movie be a Christian Arab is just a cop-out. Perhaps there really is a Christian Arab mafia in Jaffa but I doubt that it’s the main problem these people face. That said, the movie is worth seeing for the convincing observations of daily life.
Spoiler Alert – Spoiler Alert – Spoiler Alert – Spoiler Alert – Spoiler Alert – Spoiler Alert –

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