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Sand men

14 minutes

The heart-wrenching stories behind immigrants’ sand sculptures on London streets

‘When will we have it better? Just like everyone else?’

Sand Men is a distinctly different take on the artisan short-documentary genre. It follows Raj, Neculai and Aurel as they practise an unusual craft that has been passed around the Romanian immigrant community in London. With just a bag of sand and simple tools, the men fashion expressive, temporary and often melancholic dog sculptures, hoping for donations that will help them eke out a living. While each man has a different outlook and challenges to overcome, all of them chose the difficulties of London over living in poverty in Romania because they hope for a better chance to support their families, however meagre their earnings. By juxtaposing the dogs’ emotive faces with the stories of Raj, Neculai and Aurel, the UK director Tal Amiran renders life at the margins of a wealthy city as a peculiar mix of suffering, striving and absurdity, suggesting that society has an easier time overlooking these men than their ephemeral creations. 

Director: Tal Amiran

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