Every night dozens of residents equipped with food and drink gather outside the Ministry of Interior in East Jerusalem to get a good place in the line. Women with babies, old and young men are crammed together waiting in inhuman condition for the office to open in the morning. The harsh reality exposed presents a Kafkaesque picture that reflects the variety of problems and pleas Palestinian residents have with the Israeli government.
Issam Kutub was a Jerusalem resident until he became ill with renal ailure. Until then he paid regularly his municipality taxes, sick fund and Social Insurance taxes– everything seemed alright.
However, when he got ill and needed expensive medicine and dialysis treatments, officials at the Ministry of Interior and Social Insurance suddenly decided that Kutub is not entitled to Israeli residency; as far as they were concerned he does not exist anymore and should manage on his own, despite having paid his taxes since 1967.
Rana Shala’bi is a gifted child who was born in East Jerusalem to a Jerusalemite mother. She met Gisela, a Jewish tourist from Italy, who decided to help with her difficult economic situation. Gisela wants to take Rana to Italy to meet rich Italians who may support her. They go together to the Ministry of Interior where they are told that Rana’s name does not appear in the Population Census, hence she cannot leave the country.
The film contains hidden camera shots of the Ministry of Interior, follows Issam, Rana and other Palestinian residents on their Via Dolorosa while they are standing in line at the Ministry to ask for their residency to be recognized, so they can get their due rights. The picture that emerges presents a less known face of The Holy City of Jerusalem in the State of Israel.
Script and Directing: Dr. Amir Har-Gil; Producer: Udi Kalinsky, Provid Film Production Co. Ltd.; Editing: Michal Ranon; Photography: Ofer Yanoov. The film was produced tor Channel 8, Noga Communications and sponsored by the New Israeli Foundation for Cinema and Television.
The film won the Best Film Award at the 4th DocuNoga Festival for documentary films.
Yediot Aharonot, Yael Gvirtz, 16.10.2000: “Line Up”; in his painful and wise film, Har-Gil reveals the power of the Isra-bluff of united Jerusalem. The film turns upside down the common way we examine events. Let’s hear the story of a single line, suggests Har-Gil and you will understand the whole story.
Maariv, Koby Niv, 17.11.2000: “Line up” is an infuriating, stomach-churning film, a key film for understanding the Palestinian side of the conflict. In his film Har-Gil reveals what is happening in our backyard, a place we usually don’t look at, in order to not see and not know. “Line Up” does not let us escape. Har-Gil turns our heads to see through his camera what is being done to people, with our permission, with our authority, in our name. All that’s left for us to do is be ashamed and angry because we are the bad ones in this film.
Haaretz, Benny Ziffer, Haaretz, 8.11.2002: The camera is that of Amir Har-Gil, who in his film “Line Up” documented the atrocious bureaucracy Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have to undergo in all their dealings with the Israeli State.
“Hadaf Hayarok” (green page), Nachman Gilboa, 28.9.2000: “Line Up”; what makes this film into a fascinating and shocking human document is the stories of 3 people who turn the vague, abstract line into tangible, painful stories. The team of judges wrote among their reasons: “it is an important film that shows one of the dark corners in Israel, the story of the queue to the Ministry of the Interior in Jerusalem. It is the story of an intransigent establishment. The film serves as a legal exhibit in a petition presented to the High Court of Justice by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel against the Ministry of Interior. Minister Yuli Tamir announced after the screening that she decided to take a copy of the film to show it to the Minister of the Interior, Haim Ramon.
Haaretz Supplement, Uriya Shavit, 13.10.00: “Line Up”, Amir Har-Gil’s film about what is going at the East Jerusalem Bureau of the Ministry of the Interior that was awarded the “DocuNoga” prize for documentary films provokes great interest. Meir Margalit, Member of the Jerusalem Municipality Council (Meretz Party), organized a screening of the film for Council Members and the Minister of the Interior in October 22. Dina Zilber, from the State Attorney’s Legal Plea’s Department asked for the film to be screened for her colleagues; the time for the screening is yet unknown. The Ministry of Law emphasizes that this is only a private initiative for the enrichment of the attorneys. Last month the Association for Civil Rights turned to the High Court of Justice asking that the judges who discuss the plea should watch the film (“urgent request to submit a video cassette for watching”). The decision was not yet taken. The film is made in a simple manner but it has some powerful choices.
Script and Directing: Dr. Amir Har-Gil.
Producer: Udi Kalinsky, Provid Film Production Co. Ltd.
Editing: Michal Ranon.
Photography: Ofer Yanoov.
The film was produced for Channel 8, Noga Communications and was sponsored by the New Fund for Cinema and Television.