"World Cinema: Israel"

My book, "World Cinema: Israel" (originally published in 1996) is available from Amazon on "Kindle", with an in-depth chapter comparing and analyzing internationally acclaimed Israeli films up to 2010.

Want to see some of the best films of recent years? Just scroll down to "best films" to find listings of my recommendations.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ajami wins an Oscar Nomination

Ajami (directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani) has recently been selected as one of the international films on the short list for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. I have written about Ajami before on this blog. Today I want to consider some of the aspects of the film that makes this selection such an important landmark for Israeli cinema. If you haven't seen the film -- this is a must!
A First
This is the first film made by an Israeli Palestinian director (co-director, in this case) to have been nominated for an Oscar. In the past, many Israeli films have won an Oscar nomination, but never before has an Israeli Arab/Palestinian been in the driver's seat.
Through a complex and hard-hitting film such as this, the viewer is able to gain tremendous insight into contemporary issues of Israeli Palestinians – drugs, crime, forbidden love between Christian and Muslim (also between teens from different socio-economic groups), relations between Arabs of the West Bank and Arabs of Israel, Bedouin from the northern Negev seen as outsiders within Palestinian society, issues of identity for the Arabs of Israel, and tense relations with the security forces of the Jewish state.
The film is also surprisingly authentic. The two filmmakers, one Christian and one Jewish, decided to cast people from the city of Jaffa, who would tell their own stories – non-professional actors playing themselves. All of these so-called actors underwent acting workshops and the results are absolutely amazing!
Ajami is distributed by Kino International.

No comments: