Backwards

Nominated for Best Student Doc

Directed by

Dana Gelman

16' • Israel • 2018

English, Hebrew, Russian

At the outskirts of the Tel Aviv “bubble”, in the neighborhood known as Florentine, a play is enacted nightly, with hundreds of work-seeking migrants and asylum seekers waiting to enter the offices of the Department of Immigration, their gateway to a better life. As the lights of the city go out, the line outside the Immigration Office begins to grow. Everyone wants to be among the first in line when the doors to the office open at 8:00am. By midnight, hundreds of people have lined up, most of them Ukrainian. While one sleeps on the sidewalk, another tries anxiously to organize a list of names. Most of them won’t get in anyway, and even the few that do will go through a procedure that doesn’t provide much chance of success. Backwards encapsulates the refugee crisis into a single night: exhausted multitudes of people patiently persisting in their effort to begin a new life—as the rest of the world sleeps.