Film notes and reviews » 2012/13 season » Ajami, March 2013

Ajami, March 2013

Israel 2009. Directors/writers Scander Copti and Yaron Shami.

Certificate 15

This joint Arab/Israeli work is an even handed approach to showing the lives of ordinary males in Jaffa trying to cope with problems stemming from honest and dishonest work.

The personalities cover the range of ethnic and religious types and the verisimilitude comes from hearing Arabs speak Arabic and Jews, Hebrew, and then both at the same time. The style is borrowed from the Mexican new wave films such as Amores Perros, later used in Babel. Scenes are not always chronological, and are repeated to help to bring the different interpretations out for the events covered in this cauldron.

Tension mounts, the unexpected happens and the non professional actors lend great authenticity. Scander Copti appears as an eccentric cook.

The film was beaten for the best foreign language film Oscar by The Secret in their Eyes.

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