Ajami: when life bears no value

Ajami is a skillfully produced movie with an intense plot developed through the use of exciting cinematographic approaches.

The narrator of the tragic Israeli-Palestinian tale about human suffering is a young boy called Nasri whose family is deeply troubled. His uncle gets into a conflict with a local gang which then attempts to kill him and his family. Nasri’s older brother Omar (19) becomes the oldest man in the family and is, thus, responsible to resolve the issue according to the popular scripts of the culture he comes from. Aiming to kill Omar, the gang members kill his cousin instead. When the local respected restaurateur Abu Elias helps to solve the conflict, Omar’s family is asked to pay a huge amount of money to ensure its protection. Together with 16-years old illegal Palestinian worker Melek whose mother needs to be operated, Omar decides to sell drugs in order to provide for the payment. When the two are caught by police members Nasri shoots at a policemen in order to protect them and gets killed.

Ajami is an insightful, encapsulating the senses movie presenting the realities of life in Israel and Palestine. Violence, corruption, and revenge create the all-consuming feeling of powerlessness shared by characters and public alike.

The characters in the movie are left to struggle alone in a world which does not value the life of others’. A world in which people lack moral limits and do not feel remorse as they advance at the expense of others’ wellbeing. The ties and empathy depicted in the movie lack transcendence beyond the realms of nationality, religion, culture and family.

The society presented in the movie operates on the principle of the wilderness. The stronger the better. Survival of the fittest. But being “strong” or “fittest” in the context of the world drawn by the movie does not include being ethical or moral. In fact, all characters in the movie respond to the challenges of their environment by compromising their values in one way or another.

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