Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ajami (عجمي‎ - עג'מי‎)

Soon we will learn Israel's submission to the Oscar and if is anything alike to last year submission and Oscar nominee, will have to watch it immediately as the debut by Scandar Copti (Palestinian born and raised in Ajami) and Yaron Shai (Jewish Israeli) is an amazing film that from the very beginning up to the end grabs your attention and won't let it go, not even for a second, not to think twice what's happening, not to analyze a thing; the film is one non-stop ride into the a slice-of-life of some characters presented not in chronological order, with the story moving back and forth, plus re-telling from a different point-of-view, until all stories merge in one point and it's the end. Amazing, truly amazing especially because you will not see violence (when everything is violent), you'll not see political statements or something in particular besides what could be normal life in an impoverish neighborhood with a melting pot of cultures and conflicting views among Jews, Muslims and Christians.

It's a story that looks and feels so real, but the way is told is what makes this film a cinematic experience in storytelling, hard, very-hard to believe that is the debut film of two young directors (and screenwriters), as shows great storytelling mastery with amazing narrative and especially the awesome cinematic language that fast involves you and doesn't let you go until the very end. Fantastic.

It was such an intense one long sigh voyage that when the film was over I had to stop my mind and review the whole film -in my mind- to really grasp everything that I watched for the past two hours; not the story, but the visuals and the amazing editing that creates an unique -and very compelling/involving- storytelling style. Absolutely a must be seen film that I hope many have already seen by now.

As brief as possible here is a plot summary, the story is narrated by young Nasri and tells about his older brother Omar fighting a criminal vendetta against his family. Omar is Muslim and in love with Christian Hadir, his boss daughter; the boss Abu Elias owns a restaurant where Omar and illegal immigrant Malek work. Malek is desperately trying to make money for her mother's life-saving surgery. Dando is a Jewish police officer obsessed with finding his missing brother and last, Binj a Palestinian dreaming of a future with his Jewish girlfriend and played by none other than Scandar Copti. Most -if not all-characters are played by non-actors, which absolutely adds to the realistic look of the story and film.

The film collected many honors including Special Mention Camera D'Or at 2009 Cannes, winning the top awards at 2009 Ophir Awards, and being one of the five Oscar nominees in the Best Foreign Film category.

Strongly suggest you don't skip this movie that I know will watch more than once as I have to understand -more- the amazing storytelling style.


Watch trailer @Movie On Companion

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