Every bureaucracy has its own unfathomable logic, and the Costa Rican immigration department is no exception. The lines out front are long, and once you get indoors, consider yourself lucky that you can take a seat on one of the red, yellow or blue chairs you’re assigned—there are even rules on what color chair you get.
Inside, the waiting continues. The static camera captures scenes of the diverse collection of people as they bide their time. Their expressions betray their fatigue, boredom and irritation, and the same goes for the uniformed staff managing the flow of people. They are here because they have to be: “Not having an ID makes everything difficult for me,” explains an exhausted man who has been in the country for many years. Outside, a lawyer parks his van and positions two plastic garden chairs so he can provide legal advice.
Everyone’s patience is tested, no matter which side of the desk they’re sitting on. In sometimes drily comic scenes, the film makes palpable the shift from patience to resignation to—for some at least—silent desperation.