Ajami: Film review

Taking its name from a benighted neighbourhood of the ancient coastal city of Jaffa, Ajami represented Israel with a nomination in the foreign language category at the Academy Awards earlier this year. It is, however, co-directed and co-scripted by Yaron Shani, an Israeli Jew, and Scandar Copti, who carefully calls himself a "Palestinian citizen of the Israeli state". As their film shows, what you are and where you're from ultimately defines your destiny in Ajami.

The film borrows from the techniques of Gomorrah and the Mexican new wave as typified by, say, Amores Perros, in weaving characters and storylines to create a tapestry of lives. The drama is kickstarted by a drive-by shooting that kills an innocent boy, mistaken for one of the main characters, Omar (Shahir Kabaha). It's the result of a vendetta between two crime clans and revenge for the shooting of a Bedouin weeks earlier.

Terrorised, Omar's
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Portland Film Fest Review: Ajami

Portland Film Fest Review: Ajami
The Middle East is such a powder keg that we've come to assume every film from that region will be About the fact that it's a powder keg. Ajami is what you'd expect in that regard, but in nearly every other way it's a surprise, a bold and serious film about the frail threads that keep -- or fail to keep -- a society from falling apart.

The title refers to a rather sketchy neighborhood in the Israeli city of Jaffa, where Muslims, Christians, and Jews live uneasily with each other. To begin with, a teenager is gunned down outside his house. Our narrator, a young boy named Nasri (Fouad Habash), lives next door and reports that the intended victim was his 19-year-old brother, Omar (Shahir Kabaha), a decent young man who became a target for a Bedouin group only because Omar's uncle shot one of them. Sure, the guy
See full article at Cinematical »


Kino International

Reviewed for New York Cool by Harvey Karten

Grade: B

Directed by: Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani

Written By: Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani

Cast: Shahir Kabaha, Ibrahim Frege, Fouad Habash, Youssef Sahwani, Ranin Karim, Eran Naim, Scandar Copti

Screened at: Review 2, NYC, 11/19/09

Opens: February 3, 2010

The word on the street is that Israelis do some great things with technology, but movies are not their forte. Every once in a while, there.s an exception, in this case .Ajami,. a film whose appeal is nonetheless limited by its complexity. To get an idea of the film.s substance, think of Paul Haggis.s .Crash,. which interweaves a collection of characters during a two-day period in L.A., including a police detective with a druggie mother and thieving brother, a racist white veteran cop with an idealistic partner, an Iranian-immigrant father who buys a gun to protect his shop, a Hispanic locksmith
See full article at Arizona Reporter »

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