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Ajami (2009)

Shahir Kabaha , Fouad Habash , Scandar Copti , Yaron Shani  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Shahir Kabaha, Fouad Habash, Youssef Sahwani, Ranin Karim, Scandar Copti
  • Directors: Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Arabic
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • DVD Release Date: August 24, 2010
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003MT2EHS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,030 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ajami" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This Academy Award nominated film is Shakespearian in its scope and themes - revenge, loyalty, hope and despair - AJAMI draws us into the lives of two brothers fearing assassination; a young refugee working illegally to cover his mother s medical expenses; a cop obsessed with finding his missing brother. Through this dramatic collision of different worlds, we witness cultural and religious tensions simmering beneath the surface and the tragic consequences of enemies living as neighbors. Recommended for those who enjoyed Crash or Traffic.


An enormously important film A contemporary crime drama edged with Greek tragedy teems with life. --The Village Voice

One of the pleasures of Ajami, a tough and in many ways unsparing movie, is its deep immersion in the beats and melodies of everyday life in Jaffa and beyond... Some of the scenes, as they unwind slowly and take surprising turns, have the rough, surprising rhythm of a documentary.

At the same time, though, the film has an ingenious and carefully worked-out structure. Dividing their story into chapters that are presented out of chronological order, the filmmakers embrace the multi-stranded, decentered narrative strategy that has become one of the prevalent conventions of contemporary world cinema. There are no coincidences, only hidden connections among apparently random events, some of which happen more than once so that the deeper patterns can be revealed. --The New York Times

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful May 17, 2010
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Israeli film made to date September 4, 2010
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Walking the Tightrope December 19, 2010
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Lives Collide November 19, 2010
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
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful crime saga set among Israeli Arabs March 21, 2011
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent perspective on the human side of the Palestine Israel ...
Excellent perspective on the human side of the Palestine Israel conflict. Very clearly a deserving nominee for the Academy Award.
Published 1 month ago by David Kelsey
1.0 out of 5 stars We loved Omar, but this movie comes nowhere near that ...
The movie is awful. The story is disjointed and it's difficult to follow where each character is supposed to be in each scene. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Heidi
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent movie!
Published 2 months ago by Donna Rodnitzky
4.0 out of 5 stars The realism of this movie was palable.
The lives of those who live in other countries is so vividly displayed in this movie. I was touched by the actors ability to call up such emotions.
Published 13 months ago by Mikal Nabors
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and tough- instant view
Great film. An aspect of Arab Israeli life we don't see and I enjoyed the glimpse into this dark realm of life in the edge in Jaffa. Very well done.
Published 15 months ago by J. Barol
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC FILM!
This was a superb film on all levels. Everybody should see it. It is dramatic, funny, deep, romantic and historical. Read more
Published 15 months ago by marie-louise ericsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellen film. A must see
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict serves as background to a gripping personal story. Which is the main theme? Any biases reflected by the film maker? Watch it and find out.
Published 16 months ago by Amazon loyal customer
4.0 out of 5 stars roseread
Ive spent days in jaffa,but this is in areas i dont rings true to the almost impossible standards set for arabic familys and the consequences that can befall those that... Read more
Published 19 months ago by drose
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful yet disjointed...
A powerful film of people living at the very edge of violence and despair, this movie chronicles people whose life, eventually, intersect. The key point? Read more
Published 19 months ago by R S Cobblestone
5.0 out of 5 stars Ajami
Wow. This film is incredibly powerful and moving. Through the different sub-plots of the film, I could feel the emotions and struggles of each of the characters. Read more
Published on September 7, 2012 by emmaw
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