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.