Ajami, a crime-infested Jaffa neighborhood, serves two first-time directors (one Israeli, one Arab) as an allegory for the kind of pressure cooker climate the entire state of Israel is subjected to today.
A fractured chronology introduces a series of inter-related stories: Omar (Kabaha) needs money to settle a vendetta between his family and another, more powerful clan. Teenager Malek (Frege) is working in a restaurant to pay for his mother’s bone marrow transplant. Binj (co-director Copti) wants to leave Ajami, but his brother has just knifed a Jewish neighbour and taken flight, leaving a package of drugs behind. And then there’s police inspector Dando (Naim), whose life was turned upside down when his younger brother, a soldier, disappeared without trace. All these characters, each carrying his own pent-up anxieties, frustration and rage, turn out to be pieces of one, single, larger puzzle.
Dan Fainaru, Screen International
Shahir Kabaha,Ibrahim Frege, Scandar Copti,Eran Naim, Fouad Habash