Item posted on: 12-11-2009
Opening Film - Ajami
Once again the festival is expecting a full house for the premiere showing of Ajami, a film that won five awards from the Israeli Film Academy, and for the presence of our very devoted guests: Leila Shahid, Dominique Vidal and Michel Warschawski.
Ajami is the untold story of the walled in city of Jaffa, on the outskirts of the Palestinian Israeli conflict, where violence and hatred are a daily reality. The characters in this high-paced film live in a violent reality where enemies live as neighbours. It is a meeting of conflicting views Jews and Arabs, Christians and Moslems, fathers and sons, cops and robbers. As the films jolts from one point of view to the other it creates an alternative truth, a new surprising expression of the human experience. Shuttling back and forth through time, we witness the events over and over again through the eyes of a different character, and every time our perception of "what is right" changes, triggering opposing emotional reactions. We are forced to ask ourselves the eternal question: how do people with the same basic values and moral conscience become blood enemies?
"Ajami tells stories that are taken from our actual life experience, each one of us from his own perspective (Scandar Copti, a Palestinian brought up in Arab Jaffa, and Yaron Shani, an Israeli Jew, brought up in the Western Zionistic Israel). In a unique narrative technique, the viewer experiences Ajami's world again and again. Every time, going back in time to observe the same reality from a different point of view. The essence of conflict is not good versus evil, or right versus wrong, only different points of view. Only by looking through the eyes of our enemies can we see their humanity."

The film's world premiere was at the Cannes Festival 2009 where it won a Camera d'Or Special Mention. Israeli is sending the film to the Oscars to compete in the foreign film category and it is also nominated for a European Film Discovery Award. The film had received production funding by the World Cinema Fund Berlinale.

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