Tuesday, February 21, 2012


In many ways, Jaffa is a typical domestic drama that could take place anywhere in the world.  Reuven owns a garage in Jaffa; his son, Meir, and daughter, Mali, work for him there.  He also employs Hassan and Hassan's son Toufik.  Unbeknownst to anyone else in either family, Mali and Toufik are in love, making plans to elope.  Tragedy strikes when Toufik and Meir get in a fight and Meir is accidentally killed.

The twist here is the religious and cultural setting.  In the ethnic and religious mix that is Jaffa, Jews and Muslims get along well enough to work together, but prejudice and suspicion abound.  Reuven values Hassan and Toufik as employees, but Meir and Reuven's wife criticize and deride them as lesser people.  Mali and Toufik share a love that transcends their differences, but are still wary enough to keep their affair secret.
I know I, like every other human, harbor prejudices and preferences that can taint my relationships with others.  But I simply cannot wrap my mind around the animosity between Jews and Muslims as portrayed in Jaffa and many other films (not to mention the nightly news).  Sure they can get along in small ways--hiring them to work in your business, falling in love--but as a whole, they're blowing each other up.  What a sad way to live.  Good movie, though.

Bottom line, 3 stars.

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