Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

Ajami 2008

Directed by Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani

“Emotionally mesmerizing. Set in the multiethnic city of Jaffa, this Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film is like an Israeli Amores Perros crossed with City of God.” — Entertainment Weekly

Israel In Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles
118 minutes

Directors, Screenplay, Editors


Mosh Danon
Thanassis Karathanos


Boaz Yehonatan Yacov

Production designer

Yoav Sinai


Rabiah Buchari


Shahir Kabaha (Omar)
Ibrahim Frege (Malek)
Fouad Habash (Nasri)
Youssef Sahwani (Abu Elias)
Ranin Karim (Hadir)
Eran Naim (Dando)
Scandar Copti (Binj)
Elias Sabah (Shata)
Hilal Kabob (Anan)
Nisrin Rihan (Ilham)
Tami Yerushalmi (Dando’s mother)
Moshe Yerushalmi (Dando’s father)
Sigal Harel (Dando’s sister)
Abu-George Shibli (Sido)


Cannes (Directors' Fortnight), Toronto, London 2009


Camera d'Or (Special Mention), Cannes Film Festival 2009; Nominated, Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards 2010


A compacted, combustible cluster of small-time gangsterism, ethnic tension, political oppression and exploited illegal labour, the Jaffa of Ajami resembles the Baltimore of The Wire or the Rio of City of God more than it resembles Israel as we’ve ever seen it before in the movies. Jewish Yaron Shani and Palestinian Scandar Copti co-directed this Oscar-nominated drama of youth in strife. Their film circles chronologically to reveal the violent conflicts that lock together the fates of three families – Muslim, Christian and Jewish. — BG.

“Emotionally mesmerizing… Using a nonprofessional cast, Ajami looks at the Middle East powder keg from both sides, weaving a time-fractured story of drug dealing, romance, and economic peril. As a shockingly unjust revenge murder sets off a cycle of fear, we feel how the violence of life in Israel has embedded itself in every interaction, even for those on the same side.” — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly