klawansLast week we sent a Mazal Tov to Israeli film director Haim Tabakman, whose flick Eyes Wide Open has won awards in the MedFilm Festival in Rome, as well as the Ghent Film Festival in Belgium. Now I am happy to report more Israeli cinema news.

This time the moving picture entertainment comes to the public under the auspices of one jointly directed project by Yaron Shani Jewish Israeli and Skander Copti an Israeli born Arab. The film is called Ajami. Also we want to tell you about another film that is in a much different vein called Defamation.

ajamiThe joint project will be the first Arabic language film to represent Israel at the Oscars. Shot as a raw documentary, the film is about life in Ajami, a former slum in Jaffa. The documentary portrays the street life of impoverished Israeli Arabs, who are caught on film carrying out brutal mafia-style murders and other crime.

The movie has already won the Israeli Ophir and Wolgin prizes and was even honored with special mention at Cannes.

The other Israeli film to be on the lookout for is “Defamation” by director Yoav Shamir. This documentary is a first-person excursion into the taboo subject of anti-Semitism. The filmmaker explains that it is a phenomenon which he has heard of but never actually witnessed first-hand. The idea of the film is that anti-Semitism matters less today than many Jews care to admit, or would like to believe.

But the film does not actually become quite as cold as that. Instead his aim is examining the moral effect on Diaspora Jews and Israelis, of their fear of anti-Semites. The previous description is more of the way which Shamir teases his audience into watching the film.

The film’s greatest moment and example of anti-Semitism comes from his grandmother in Jerusalem who says, “Jews? They’re nothing but schemers and layabouts…liquor-store owners and interest gougers, too lazy to do any real work but skilled in every sharp practice.”