Genre: Drama
               Israel, Jaffa, religion

The everyday Babel

  Ajami is more of a pressure cooker as a multicultural melting pot: In the poor, mostly Arab neighborhood in Tel Aviv of Muslims, Christians and Jews close. Outbreaks of violence are commonplace here.

Ajami is a movie directly from within this complex organism in which the people do actually want only to live their daily lives, but at the same time fighting for survival. TV reports of attacks and killings are carried little more than an everyday background noise, as long as there is a not directly concerned.

The joint feature film by Yaron Shani (an Israeli Jew) and Scandar Copti (a Palestinian Christian from Jaffa) tells of people who got their destinies in the immediate wake of the violence.

There is first of Omar, whose family is threatened by a campaign of revenge, because his uncle has one shot racketeer who belongs to a powerful clan. Since Binj (is played by Scandar Copti), who wants to move out are most comfortable with his Jewish friend from Ajami, to coexist with it can be undisturbed. But now he has erstmal a package of drugs at his brother’s neck with a knife after trying to escape. On the side of the Israeli Justice Dando is, a Jewish police officer and family man whose life is overshadowed by the disappearance of his brother during military service is. Malek, a young Palestinian from the occupied territories comes across the border illegally to earn money for the hospital expenses of his mother, one needs bone marrow transplant.

The Palestinian Christian, Abu Elias is finally something like the “Godfather” of the district. He mediates and regulates matters, pulls and stripping him of threads together effectively run: In his restaurant Malek, Binj and Omar work. Abu Elias can help as a mediator to end the vendetta against Omar’s family – as he negotiates in a traditional clan meeting to pay a large sum of money. But this money must muster Omar once. That he, a Muslim, also still in love with daughter of Elias Abu Khadir will have an impact on the future course of events. Like the drug package, which could be for Omar and Malek a chance to make a fast buck, just as there is a reason that Dando crosses their path.

Omar’s little brother Nadir take the audience at the beginning of Films in the relationships that are initially difficult to overlook. Nader tries to make himself comprehensible to by comics from what happens around him, draws. But his view of things is only a small mosaic pieces of a much larger picture with more complex relationships, which joined the audience in the course of the film will open up only gradually.

Ajami is a kaleidoscopic view into a microcosm of the explosive Middle East. In its just as powerful and courageous film is the directors are not big policy or the question of the perpetrator or victim, there are no judgments or recriminations. The reality of everyday life is complicated enough. The shape of the film reflects the consistent calculation: In five chapters, the film fans out on a complex mosaic of people and their motivations, from everyday life and death in Israel.

The (in chronology and perspective, fragmented narrative as they as well as Alejandro González Iñárritu in his films, Amores Perros, Babel, 21 grams of celebrating, or Paul Haggis in Crash) is not here acts as a trick, but appears to be the only appropriate form, the complexity of the situation and its implications, interpretation and losses tragic accidents do justice to.

Ultimately, the filmmakers go about their characters, the people and their destinies. The two did not simply a film about, but a project with the people of Ajami. All the actors in Ajami are amateur actors who have prepared themselves in a ten-month workshop with the directors through role playing and improvising on their roles. There are people who were never in front of a camera, but probably come directly from the living reality of which the film tells. The consistently impressive performers were not operating a full screenplay and more defined lines of dialogue, but only a sketch of the immediate environment of their respective roles. Some of the scenes (like the clan meeting) are are even filmed a documentary rather than staged. As required by the spontaneity emerges on the canvas an immediacy that is also reinforced by the use of hand-held camera. In the picture composition affects unobtrusively and organically, the camera never appears as an intruder. And yet we as viewers feel completely immersed in this strange world with its Sprachwirrwarr from Arabic and Hebrew, the people in their everyday life at the same time unites and separates. In the subtitles of the film indicated why we are being spoken in any language straight.

The co-production with ZDF and ARTE film was already with five Ophir Awards (the highest Israeli Film awards), now he goes to Israel the running for an Oscar for best foreign language film.

(Kirsten Kieninger)

Title: Ajami Country of production: , Germany, Israel Year of production: 2009 Length: 120 (Min) of material: New Visions

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