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Program 3

The Right to Beg

Film presentation with Ulli Gladik

Friday, April 4, 2013, 7 p.m.

Ulli Gladik, A 2008, 121 min, Original version with german subtitles

Natasha lives in Bresnik, a small town next to Sofia. Like many Roma, she is pushed to the margins of society, without having the perspective for a job. Several times a year she travels to Austria to beg, in order to feed her family. Ulli Gladik visited her and her family in Austria and Bulgaria during a period of two years. The film brings Natasha out of invisibility, shows her every day life as a begger in Austria and the living conditions in her resident country. One comprehends: Begging is hard labour and Natasha is not a victim, but a person who acts autonomously.

„Natasha“ quintessentially opposes the making-invisible and displacement of the poor in rich, capitalist societies. These politics of dispersion are being executed with begging restrictions and dismissals, while racist stereotypes about „criminal roma“ and myths about „organized begging gangs“ circulating through the media are creating the background „atmosphere“. Ulli Gladik: „Instead of combatting begging, which would actually be official politic´s job, begging restrictions are used to make poverty invisible. We are talking about policies that create a climate of intolerance, on the back of disenfranchised people. This is unsettling, because exactly in times of crises, politics should counteract extreme right wing trends instead of fuelling resentments and criminalizing people in need.“

In attendance of the director.

born 1970 in Bruck an der Mur (Austria). Studied fine photography with Friedl Kubelka and at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. From 2001 to 2002 she held a sholarship of the National Academy of Arts in Sofia and founded the art project „Transformazija“ together with Ljuben Stoev and Doris Peter, in the framework of which exhibition projects in Germany, Austria and Bulgaria have been realized. She works as a freelance artist, photographer and film maker and is an activist with the BettelLobbyWien.