Beggars' Oasis
Available on iTunes
How do we perceive the arrival and installation of Roma populations in the heart of Western European cities? Between fantasy and reality what are the feelings and reactions of the population? Recorded over a period of two and a half years in Lausanne, Switzerland, the film relates the different stages of an anti-begging initiative and its repercussions on the daily life of Roma beggars. A hundred or so beggars cause a commotion in Lausanne. In this city of 140’000 inhabitants, a popular initiative has been launched to ban “professional” begging. Although they are never actually mentioned, the principal targets of this movement are the Roma, suspected of belonging to organized crime networks. While politicians cross swords, Roma families try to face up to the emergency and reach out to anyone who will help them to survive. At the heart of the debate, an open-minded policeman is attempting a mediation in order to reduce the tension between beggars and city-dwellers. Lausanne is one of the last towns in Switzerland where begging is still permitted. Will it become the “oasis for beggars” so greatly feared by the authors of the initiative?
Starring Vera NK, Costel NK, Donitza NK
Director Janine Waeber, Carole Pirker