Screened as part of NZIFF 2010
A compacted, combustible cluster of small-time gangsterism, ethnic tension, political oppression and exploited illegal labour, the Jaffa of Ajami resembles the Baltimore of The Wire or the Rio of City of God more than it resembles Israel as we’ve ever seen it before in the movies. Jewish Yaron Shani and Palestinian Scandar Copti co-directed this Oscar-nominated drama of youth in strife. Their film circles chronologically to reveal the violent conflicts that lock together the fates of three families – Muslim, Christian and Jewish. — BG.
“Emotionally mesmerizing… Using a nonprofessional cast, Ajami looks at the Middle East powder keg from both sides, weaving a time-fractured story of drug dealing, romance, and economic peril. As a shockingly unjust revenge murder sets off a cycle of fear, we feel how the violence of life in Israel has embedded itself in every interaction, even for those on the same side.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly