Here and Now, directed by Roman Shumunov, is a sentimental and dark drama about Russian immigrants living in the slums of Ashdod. Our four young heroes are burdened with trying to support themselves and their families and, at the same time, learning to adapt to Israeli life. They are serious rappers and are dreaming of participating in an upcoming music festival.
There are four tragic stories -- Andrei’s father has been hospitalized for a long period and he is left holding the bag, paying the mortgage and taking care of his little sister. Things are not so easy and Andrei gets deep into debt. Things seem to be spiraling out of control when his sister complains about school, they get harassed by the police for loitering on the streets at night, and he loses his job unloading crates at the port. When the school social worker threatens to take his sister away and the bank threatens to foreclose on the apartment, Andrei realizes that he has to do something drastic to get himself out of this situation.
One of his friends is apparently homeless and misses his mother back in Georgia. Another is living with the terrible memory of his sister being raped and murdered. A fourth has gotten himself involved with the Russian mob.
The film is a bit preachy and the acting leaves something to be desired. The best part is the rap music – although there wasn’t enough of it -- and the lyrics that clearly express the frustrations and humiliations of being a new immigrant young man on the periphery of Israeli society.
Here and Now is available from Go2Film and Laila Films.