(special thanks to Film Movement for providing me with a screener!)
I can't help but think that Israel must be a very unpleasant place to live. I wouldn't mind visiting there sometime (I'm a sucker for history), but I certainly wouldn't want to live there. This movie, a 2009 Israeli film, does nothing to change my mind about that.
Jaffa tells the story of a young Jewish woman who is in love with a Palestinian man who works in her father's garage. She's hiding her relationship with him from her parents and the two have plans to elope. She's also not yet told her parents that she's pregnant. Meantime her boyfriend has to put up with lots of crap from her brother, who seems to resent the fact that his sister's boyfriend is much better at his job than he is. The day before the wedding, the two come to blows and the brother is accidentally killed. Things go downhill from there.
I never really connected with any of the characters in this movie. The Palestinian man seems like the only really good one in the bunch. The girl's parents and brother all seem to dislike Palestinians in general to greater and lesser degrees. As for the girl herself, if she could bother to tell the truth at just about any point in the film, most of what happens wouldn't have happened. Instead she's constantly lying and creating more and more problems for herself and everyone around her.
On a technical level this is a decent enough film. It's well shot and looks good, but the story is basically a retred of Romeo and Juliet without that play's sense of fun and happiness. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but in this movie, with these characters, it really does not work.