About This File
Ajami depicts the brutal life involving drugs, violence and poverty in the eponymous Jewish-Arab neighborhood in Jaffa. The film was directed by Scandar Copti, an Israeli Arab, and Yaron Shani, an Israeli Jew. The movie used mainly nonprofessional actors, who were taught in special workshops before filming began. Some of these actors are themselves residents of the Ajami neighborhood. Ajami was nominated for the Best Foreign Film of 2009 at the Academy Awards.
Essential viewing for anyone engaged in the ongoing drama of the Middle East, Ajami is a brave, apolitical look at Jews and Arabs in Jaffas multi-ethnic Ajami neighborhood — a searing debut by Israeli and Palestinian co-directors, whose balanced perspective and use of non-professional local actors lend a palpable authenticity to a complex, cross-cultural drama. Shakespearian in its scope and themes — revenge, loyalty, hope and despair — the film draws us into the lives of two brothers fearing assassination; a young Palestinian refugee working illegally to cover his mothers medical expenses; an Israeli woman and her affluent Palestinian boyfriend dreaming of building a life together; and a Jewish cop obsessed with finding his missing brother. Through this dramatic collision of different worlds, we witness the cultural and religious tensions simmering beneath the surface and the tragic consequences of enemies living as neighbors.
Directed by: Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani
Starring: Shahir Kabaha, Ibrahim Frege, Fouad Habash, Youssef Sahw