L'oasis des mendiants Switzerland 2014 – 86min.
L'oasis des mendiants
Lausanne, Switzerland. The presence of approximately 100 Roma beggars, accused of belonging to a mafia network, of annoying residents and abusing their children, disturbs the tranquility of this small city. An initiative is discussed by the city, one that aims to forbid begging and get rid of people that have come to represent an adversary to some. The issue divides the community, from the Swiss to the associations defending the Roma.
“Restraining begging without criminalizing poverty” is a phrase bandied about during a community meeting, which summarizes the complexity of the discussion. Filmed over 2½ years by Janine Waeber and Carole Pirker, No Place To Stay takes on a hard, politically incorrect issue that each year initiates lively debates throughout Europe. Divided into sociopolitical discussion between authorities and scenes of the daily lives of the Roma, this documentary dares to approach a very sensitive problem, giving a human face to people considered as invaders of the modern world. But because it refuses to do more than quietly listen to the debate without really increasing options or consequences, the film leaves the audience in passive mode, outside of any proper involvement. This Oasis lacks the vision, or even the violence, that would match its ambitions.