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No Country for the Poor

In Hungary, the poor and weak are increasingly stigmatized to obscure the failure of the state. While authorities continue monopolizing power and turning citizens into subjects, extensive revisions of the fundamental law criminalized homelessness and reformed the social sector cutting the amount of available social benefits. In Hungary today 120,000 state-owned flats stand empty, while almost 30,000 people have no home. But AVM (English: THE CITY IS FOR ALL), a group of homeless people and activists, confronts the authorities to defend the right of shelter, social welfare and human dignity. They work to improve the situation of people in poverty by speaking up against unjust social policies. The group fights by occupying Parliament Square, preventing evictions, lobbying local authorities and providing pro bono legal aid to those in need. AVM is a mini-society based on solidarity and democracy in a society that is gradually drifting “the other way”.

Three years of intensive research into AVM’s life has given us unprecedented access to the group and its protagonists. Their community and their shared sense of purpose give them the strength to fight injustices, in line with the Civil Rights Movement tradition. Their personal stories and reflections inspire agency and citizenship that means taking life into your own hands.

Many ask, what is democracy in Europe today? What is its face in a country like Hungary, where every third citizen lives under the poverty line, where social housing makes up less than 3% of the housing stock?

Director: Laszlo Bihari
Editor: Istvan Nagy
Dramaturgic Consultance: Sandor Szöke
Camera: Gergely Pápai,László Halász
Producer ZPOK: Polina Georgescu
Producer DOCDAYS: Antje Boehmert
Associate Producer: Hunor Csörgits
Commissioning Editor SWR/ARTE: Bernd Seidl
Commissioning Editor EO: Margje de Koning

Length: 52 min
Release Date: 2017

A co-production of ZPOK & DOCDAYS Productions, SWR in collaboration with ARTE, EO. Produced with support of Creative Europe | MEDIA. Distributed by PBS International.

AVM’s website