March 2, 2010

"Ajami" - Super Powerful

I finally have my computer back from the Mac store. What was supposed to be a 30-minute fix turned into 3 days! That aside, all is well and I'm loving my fresh, new keyboard.

On Saturday night, I saw "Ajami" (2010 Oscar Foreign Film nom., Israel)... unbelievably powerful, original movie. It's sort of Altman-esque in its weaving of multiple stories and characters into one large, complex fabric. In this case, the story is told in 'chapters' that are non-chronological, each focusing on a different storyline or different perspective of an established story.

What's most astounding about the film, however, is its near neutrality about the many layers of conflict in the Middle East. Palestinians/Arabs v. Jews. Christian Arabs v. Muslim Arabs. Accepted Arabs in Israel v. non-accepted Arabs. The story is so sensitively told from all perspectives that you care about all of the characters, who have both positive and negative aspects, and legitimately understand each POV. At any given point, there are 3 languages being communicated either audibly or visually via subtitles: English, Hebrew and Arabic.

"Ajami" may make you a bit uncomfortable, but I think it's totally worth the experience - dark, intense, emotional, engaging, interesting and ultimately quite tragic because you realize this is not an unrealistic portrait of the region and, more importantly, there is no easy solution and no end in sight.

If nothing else, this movie genuinely makes you appreciate being an American and the many freedoms we enjoy (and often take for granted) on a daily basis.


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