Ajami

AJAMI PORTRAYS THE PALESTINIAN UNDERWORLD IN ISRAEL
Ajami, a section of Jaffa where Palestinian Arabs, Bedouins, and Christians live as second-class citizens in Israel along with Jews, is the apparent venue for a film by two directors, Yaron Shani, an Israeli Jew, and Scandar Copti, an Israeli Arab. Their aim is to demonstrate how the Jewish State dehumanizes the residents, resulting in blood feuds and crime. The film is captioned in five parts, with some Rashomonlike repeats of prior film footage to expand the horizon of the filmviewer. Nonprofessional actors, often without a script, create a product that is formulaic only in Romeo & Juliet romances—one involving a well-to-do Palestinian and his Jewish girlfriend, the other a Christian daughter of a successful restaurateur who is in love with a Muslim. Two on a motorbike kill someone, a case of missing identity. A Jewish man dies after complaining too bitterly about the noise from sheep kept by Palestinians living nearby. A Jewish police officer seeks a missing brother in uniform. There is a fatal drug sale. The filmviewer, possibly overtaxed in keeping up with the many subplots without a plot, might well conclude that Israeli society must face that fact that, at the present rate of population growth, there will be a minority of Jews in Israel some day, with plenty of scores to settle for generations. MH