Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ajami (2009)

Ajami is the religiously mixed community of Muslims and Christians in Tel Aviv. These are five stories about the everyday life in Ajami. [imdb]

Nominated for 1 Oscar:

Best Foreign Language Film: Israel

Oh, I love it when I am surprised in a big way. I expected Ajami to be a failure, as it didn’t have much fans among the bloggers who’ve seen it. I didn’t really know what it was about and it’s actually hard to summarize the story. Ajami has a Crash-like structure (but done better) or maybe 21 Grams and it’s not as difficult to understand as some would make you believe. You just need to know a bit about Israel, the situation there and the rest in mentioned in the film.

The screenplay is probably the best part and the direction is simple and efficient. The film is divided in chapters, mostly gravitating around the character of Omar, a teenager with a target on his back. If you are interested in a culturally relevant movie, which is also an action film with a well thought storyline… well, Ajami could be the one for you. On the downside, it feels quite long and I didn’t fully believe the ending scene… not a bad ending, but could’ve been better.

My rating for the film: 8/10. Interesting that it qualified for this category, because it’s mostly in Arabic.

And because (for the first time) I’ve seen all 5 Foreign Language Film nominees, here’s my ranking:
1. Ajami
2. A Prophet
3. The Secret in Their Eyes
4. The White Ribbon
5. The Milk of Sorrow

Milk of Sorrow is probably the only one out of its league.

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