Tuesday, 15 June 2010

film review: ajami

I saw this at the GFF earlier in the year and it's getting an overdue limited release shortly. i highly recommend seeking it out... (original review at the skinny)

Ajami (****)
A Bedouin thug demands money from a café, so the owner instinctively shoots him; in retaliation, the café is burnt down, and the owner shot. Furthermore, his family are targeted and a young neighbour is killed in error. Thus, in a matter of minutes, Ajami establishes both the cyclical violence oppressing the titular Tel Aviv neighbourhood and the momentum with which the interconnected lives of its Jewish, Christian and Muslim residents are narrated. Its non-chronological segments form a remarkably non-judgemental thriller, a reflection of its makers’ own divide-crossing. Palestinian Scandar Copti and Jewish-Israeli Yaron Shani examine the treacherous allure of vengeance and violence without polemic, establishing a wide cast in broad strokes yet without caricature. While the subtitles carefully indicate switches between Arabic and Hebrew, they cannot capture the furious gaggle of conflict, the muddled squall of ad hoc courts and tragic street tussles. But while details get lost in translation, the visceral tension and pleading humanity translate intact.

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