|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
(Scandar Copti + Yaron Shani, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 44,274,454,264 bytes
Feature Size: 33,008,474,112 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.91 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: August 24th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio Arabic 3266 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3266 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
•Ajami: the Story of the Actors (29:18 in HD!)
•10 Deleted Scenes (23:07 in HD!)
• Trailer (1:43 in HD!)
• Stills Gallery (24)
Description: An enormously important film A contemporary
crime drama edged with Greek tragedy teems with life.
--The Village Voice
A contemporary crime drama edged with Greek tragedy, Ajami is an
untidy, despairing, oddly exhilarating joint venture by writer-directors
Scandar Copti, an Israeli Arab, and Yaron Shani, an Israeli Jew. Though
its unwieldy cast and multiple storylines might better lend themselves
to a television series, the movie teems with life, energized by fierce
formal ambitions that must have provoked cardiac arrest in its insurance
underwriters, never mind any casual onlookers of the partially
improvised location shoot in a rundown quarter of the Tel Aviv–adjacent
city of Jaffa. The mostly non-pro cast is drawn from the neighborhood, a
tinderbox where Jews, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinians from the occupied
territories seeking work rub shoulders with volcanic unease.
Ajami's visuals are less spectacular on Blu-ray than one might expect for a modern film but it appears to be an authentic representation of the production - and it is hard to ask more of a transfer. There is no discernable digital manipulations to heighten any aspect of the rendering. The image quality shows some grit and minor grain - a bit of noise in darker sequences. It is dual-layered with a healthy bitrate. Ajami's palette is dusty, brown, greenish, and mostly dull. This was either an intentional effect or the effect of a true appearance shot in locations such as Ajami District in Jaffa, Israel and Nablus, Palestine. It was shot on the HD 'Red Camera' and is predictably extremely clean - without damage or speckles. The Blu-ray won't 'wow' you with over-the-top visuals - but this was not the intent of Boaz Yehonatan Yaacov's cinematography. The HD produces a bit of texture - which is beneficial but the value lies more in the stories - or rather the storytelling - and characters. This Blu-ray probably looks like the film Ajami did theatrically - exporting a realistic and unfettered look - and hopefully the screen captures will give you an idea of it's appearance on your system.
The DTS-HD Master 5.1 in mostly Arabic and Hebrew at 3266 kbps is more than capable of supporting the film's audio. There is gunfire and violence but it never impacts with demonstrative bass - it, funnily enough, sounds less aggressive but punchy... real. Surround effects are limited. There is some traditional sounding music that has resonance if not sounding particularly crisp.There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Extras don't include a commentary which would have really benefited here I think but we do get a 1/2 hour 'Ajami: the Story of the Actors' in HD with input from the filmmakers and actors. We get a further sense of how much of the film is impromptu with scenes established from real life situations. There are also 10, less relevant, deleted scenes running 23-minutes (also in HD), a trailer and a stills gallery.
August 18th, 2010
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze