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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
Top Customer Reviews
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).
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Tragic picture of life for Palestinian youth, much of the tragedy self inflicted but still very hard to watch.Published 1 month ago by Catherine Hand
My test for what's a great movie is if I forget I'm watching a movie. "Ajami" is a great movie. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Steve Kohn
Another customer was dead on when they said it's basically like Pulp Fiction. Lot's of twists and turns. Really great film! Loved itPublished 6 months ago by Rosalind
Seemed like a casual documentary. Troubling in its implications of life in Israel.Published 11 months ago by A. S. Krantz