Ajami 2009 NR

Amazon Instant Video

(29) IMDb 7.3/10
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Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, and winner of many international film prizes, AJAMI is a bold new crime drama set on the margins of an Arab ghetto in the Israeli city of Jaffa that "could almost be in the Los Angeles of 'Boyz N the Hood,' the Baltimore of 'The Wire' or the Rio de Janeiro of 'City of God.'(New York Times). Working with a cast of non-actors in the real streets, back alleys, nightclubs and rooftops of Ajami itself, co-directors Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti have crafted a "stunning" (New York Magazine) film that deftly meshes characters and conflicts with unsentimental compassion, uncompromising realism, and harrowing violence.

Starring:
Fouad Habash, Nisrine Rihan
Runtime:
2 hours 6 minutes

Ajami

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Ajami [Blu-ray]

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Product Details

Genres Drama, International
Director Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani
Starring Fouad Habash, Nisrine Rihan
Supporting actors Elias Saba, Youssef Sahwani, Abu George Shibli, Ibrahim Frege, Scandar Copti, Shahir Kabaha, Hilal Kabob, Ranin Karim, Eran Naim, Sigal Harel, Tamar Yerushalmi, Moshe Yerushalmi, Ghassan Ashkar
Studio Kino International
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Rental rights 7-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

This film really is a must see and highly enjoyable.
marie-louise ericsen
I think this film is great for those who are interested in Israeli society and the interaction between both Arabs and Jews.
MarkoSion
This made the film seem so much more like a documentary than a movie.
Musicfan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Robert Byrd VINE VOICE on May 17, 2010
Format: DVD
Since the previous reviewer gave such a good synopsis of this film I will simply say it's a wonderful achievement that's definitely worth your time. Through its various plot lines it reveals several examples of the extremely complex workings of Palestinian society and its troubled intersections with Israeli police. This is not a happy film, but it is engrossing. And might I suggest you stick with it from start to finish, because if you engage in chatter while viewing it, or get up to take a restroom break, you may miss essential elements of the story that will leave you completely in the dark for the remainder of the film (which happened to a friend of mine who accompanied me to a theatrical screening - he took a restroom break for five crucial minutes of the convoluted story and was completely lost when he returned).

Finally, the previous reviewer said this film was co-directed by two Israelis, but I was told that one of the directors is Israeli and the other Palestinian (which would make for a far more interesting point-of-view rather than the more singular point-of-view of two Israelis).
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jon Stevens on September 4, 2010
Format: DVD
In the genre of the great Brazilian urban films City of God and City Below, and genius Italian neo-realism cinema of Rosselini and DeSica, this is a gripping Israeli neo-realistic crime art film that explores the tensions of life amongest the ethnic melting pot that comprises the population of Israel: Jews, Muslim and Christian Israeli-Arabs. Steering away from Middle East politics for a welcome change, all groups are portrayed with great humanity and understanding played by an excellent cast of non-professional actors trained for this film in a very unique style shown in the Special Features section. Interestingly, these Israeli-Arabs, residents of a Jaffa slum bordering Tel Aviv speak Arabic richly laced with Hebrew words and phrases. Excellent film that I recommend highly. Other than I Love You Rosa, this is probably the best film to come out of Israel, at least in the past 20 years, and it's too bad it didn't win a well deserved Oscar for Best Foreign Film. I loved it both times I saw it: in the theater and on DVD.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Randy Keehn VINE VOICE on December 19, 2010
Format: DVD
I rented "Ajami" because it was a recent Best Foreign Language Oscar nominee which has been about as good a recommendation as I can think of for a film. "Ajami" lived up to those expectations and then some. The film, as I understand it, is about Palestinians living in or near Israel. I understand from other reviews that this is an Israeli film which gives me pause to consider. I cannot speak to the authenticity of its' portrayal of the different communities so I leave those potential criticisms to more authoritative reviewers. For me, I was drawn into a sense of reality that I readily accepted. In doing so, I was able to truly enjoy "Ajami". Most every character in "Ajami" has their own shortcomings. There are no good guys vs. bad guys although there are some better and some worse. The life style we see in "Ajami" is problematic on many levels and I concluded that revealing these challenges is the purpose of the film. At times there are unfinished issues in the movie while at times there are issues revisited with a twist.

The situation regarding Israel and her Arab neighbors is one of the worlds biggest dilemnas. Many offer varied solutions but the reality is that, uless all sides find a way to get along together, there will only be winners and losers. That merely continues the problem. "Ajami" gives me a better focus on the humanity of trying to get by day to day in a powder keg.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cary B. Barad on November 19, 2010
Format: DVD
Sort of the Middle East version of the film "Crash", where the lives of individuals of various hostile ethniciites eventually collide and lead to unforeseen outcomes. This movie was apparently produced as a cooperative effort between members of two nationalites chronically at war with each other, and it relied heavily on ordinary people and very appealing non-professional actors as well. The results are actually stunning in their dramatic value and sense of reality conveyed. This is a long subtitled film, so some patience is required.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alan A. Elsner VINE VOICE on March 21, 2011
Format: DVD
SPOILER ALERT:
This powerful movie takes place within the Israeli Arab community, mainly within the Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa. It's in a mixture of Arabic and Hebrew -- sometimes the two blend within the same sentence. It begins with a gangland killing and ends in a tragic shootout.

It takes some time to realize that the film is broken up into separate chapters that we the audience do not see consecutively. Thus only when the final chapter is complete does the whole picture come into focus. A fascinating addition to the DVD is a short documentary showing how the directors found the amateur actors who populate this movie and how they were able to coax such convincing performances from them, often working without a script.

There are many interesting subtexts within this movie. We see the complicated interplay of different factions within the Palestinian community. A love affair between a Palestinian Christian girl and Muslim boy becomes a kind of doomed, Romeo and Juliet relationship. The Israeli Arabs and the Palestinian "undocumented workers" who sneak in from the West Bank view each other with mutual distaste. An Arab in a relationship with an Israeli Jewish woman from Tel Aviv is seen by his friends as a traitor. All these people live side by side -- but separately.

An Israeli police officer, effectively portrayed by a former policeman, seems to behave with inexplicable brutality -- until it becomes clear there is a reason for that too.

There is something almost Shakespearean about this movie. The characters are trapped in a sequence of events that none of them can stop, leading to an inevitable tragedy. Everyone behaves with perfect logic from their own viewpoint -- and the outcome is terrible.
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