No Country for the Poor

 

In Hungary, the poor and weak are increasingly stigmatized and scapegoated so as to conceal the failures of the state. While the authorities continue to monopolise power and turn citizens into subjects, extensive constitutional revisions have criminalized homelessness and restricted the social sector, cutting away at social welfare provisions.

In Hungary today 120,000 state-owned flats stand empty, while almost 30,000 people have no home. But AVM (A Város Mindenkie = The City is for All), a group of homeless people and activists, confront the authorities to defend their right to shelter, social welfare, and human dignity. They work to improve the situation of those in poverty by speaking up against unjust social policies. The group occupies Parliament Square, prevents evictions, lobbies local authorities and provides pro bono legal aid to those in need. AVM is a mini-society based on solidarity and democracy in a society that is swiftly 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 shared sense of purpose give them the strength to fight such injustices, in line with the Civil Rights Movement tradition. Their personal stories inspire the agency and citizenship required to take life into your own hands.

Many ask, whatis 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?

A film by Laszlo Bihari

Camera: 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

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

Length: 52 min
Release Date: 2017

AVM’s Website

In Hungary, the poor and weak are increasingly stigmatized and scapegoated so as to conceal the failures of the state. While the authorities continue to monopolise power and turn citizens into subjects, extensive constitutional revisions have criminalized homelessness and restricted the social sector, cutting away at social welfare provisions.

In Hungary today 120,000 state-owned flats stand empty, while almost 30,000 people have no home. But AVM (A Város Mindenkie = The City is for All), a group of homeless people and activists, confront the authorities to defend their right to shelter, social welfare, and human dignity. They work to improve the situation of those in poverty by speaking up against unjust social policies. The group occupies Parliament Square, prevents evictions, lobbies local authorities and provides pro bono legal aid to those in need. AVM is a mini-society based on solidarity and democracy in a society that is swiftly 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 shared sense of purpose give them the strength to fight such injustices, in line with the Civil Rights Movement tradition. Their personal stories inspire the agency and citizenship required to take life into your own hands.

Many ask, whatis 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?

A film by Laszlo Bihari

Camera: 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

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

Length: 52 min
Release Date: 2017