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Ajami is an area of Jaffa where Arabs, Palestinians, Jews and Christians try to live together in an atmosphere that is -to say the least - electric. Omar, an Israeli Arab, struggles to save his family from elimination by a gang of extortionists. He also courts a beautiful Christian girl, Hadir, but marrying her is far from obvious. Malek, an illegal Palestinian worker, tries to collect enough money to pay for his mother's operation. Dando, an Israeli cop, does his utmost to trace his missing brother who may have been killed by Palestinians. Binj, Malek and Omar's Arab friend, suffers from being rejected by other members of his community for mixing with an Israeli girl. All of them will meet violence, most of the time ... with violence. Written by
I just saw this at the London Film Festival. Oh, what a treat.
Taking on the fashionable use of related threads and retelling the same narrative from a different angle, this film delivers a bullet tough view of street life and crime around Jaffa.
The audience is sucked into the maelstrom so quickly, that we forget the media view of the great enmity and realise that there are, of course, many smaller ones. While much eventually revolves around Israeli governance, this is not a blame game but a Shakespearean tragedy.
Unlike City of God, the casual viewer is not always given heavy clues about a characters background - and which side of the racial / religious divide they are on. And subtle differences can end up being of major (often fatal) importance. Beware.
This is not a film destined for multiplexes. Its a man's world where women are a distraction. There is no victory for political correctness. But more to the point, we are not given any particular reason to believe that Things Will Get Better.
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