Behind “The Door of Hope” in a dingy building in Tel Aviv lies a safe haven for drug-addicted prostitutes. Here, no demands are made of the women; the words on the door read, “This is not a brothel.” They can rest. In this raw debut shot in grainy black-and-white, director Nirit Aharoni films the women at their most vulnerable, when they are shooting up, crying, dying, or singing about love. She gets in close at intimate moments, but she films from a distance when they are hustling on the grim streets of nocturnal Tel Aviv. Taking her time, the director works her way ever deeper into the women’s lives – and discovers many things about herself along the way. Her addicted biological mother deserted her at an early age, so her observations of the lives of these women are actually part of the search for her own origins. Just like her mother, many of the women here suffered abuse and violence in childhood, but Aharoni has broken the cycle. The scenes of the director and her daughter provide the only light in this dark film. The intense and moving climax provides a glimmer of hope, though death is never far away.
David Mandil for Movie Plus productions Tel Aviv