The so-called individual and economic freedoms within the EU have fundamentally changed the labor market and the living conditions of its people. While some benefit from open borders and the free movement of capital, others encounter asymmetric power structures and exploitation. Some people choose to migrate on account of unemployment and poverty, in the hope of leading a better life in another country. Yet even those that stay develop ideas and ways of asserting themselves within the system. Economic hardship can become an opportunity, but at the same time it serves as a breeding ground for right-wing populism throughout Europe. INTERFERENCES, these are moments in which growing inequalities become visible. In seven film evenings, the series draws attention to stories in which individuals search for ways of dealing with them.
A group of German construction workers set out onto a construction site in the Bulgarian province. The foreign land and the rough, poorly developed landscape awaken their desire for adventure. At the same time, they are confronted with their own prejudices and feelings of mistrust. For two of the men, the nearby village becomes a stage of competition for the recognition and favor of the villagers. Using the example of an EU infrastructure project, Western depicts a little noticed direction of labor migration within the EU from west to east, along with its political and individual difficulties.
For the first time in her life, the housewife Panayiota takes a paid job. She works as a cleaning lady in a newly opened shopping center to feed her family, which is suffering due to the economic crisis. Although she is ruthlessly exploited by the company, for the first time she experiences a sense of self-empowerment through her own salary. With the new colleagues Panayiota experiences the happiest time of her thus far dull life – until the first layoffs happen. Her Job tells the story of the emancipation of a woman in the context of the crisis as both a collapse and a new beginning.
When Angie gets fired for no good reason from the job placement agency where she works, she uses the opportunity to start her own agency with her roommate Rose. The agency primarily employs workers from Eastern Europe – often illegally. While initially, Angie and Rose see their new business as a way out of their own economic hardship, the agency soon takes advantage of the migrants’ situation by exploiting them. When a deal with a client bursts, the situation dramatically escalates and Angie has to consider how far she wants to go to save her skin. It's a Free World outlines an ambivalent situation without making a one-sided judgement.
The Greek village of Elias, hit hard by the economic crisis, is about to die out. The two cousins Christos and Alexandros together with the grandmas of the village decide to try their luck with organic tomato cultivation. The secret recipe for their tomato sauce is the music of Wagner, which is played on the fields to make the tomatoes grow better. When Tomatoes Met Wagner contrasts the absurd discrepancy between production conditions and market expectations with the inspiring motivation of people who strive to continue despite everything.
The military testing range Salto di Quirra in Sardinia is located in a seemingly unspoiled natural landscape, between mountain ranges and the coast. But since 1956, weapon tests have been carried out here regardless of the environment and the population. Massimo D'Anolfi and Martina Parenti document the traces of devastation: The soil is highly contaminated, and malformations in the humans and animals grazing on the experimental area occur. By bringing together minimalist images of landscapes with archival footage, Dark Matter depicts an apocalyptic reality that is completely unknown to many.
Nazif can hardly feed his family by selling metal scrap and old car parts on the outskirts of Sarajevo. When his pregnant wife Senada learns that her unborn child is dead, they must act quickly; but without health insurance, nobody wants to carry out the vital operation. A race against time begins. The amateur actors in An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker play an episode from their own lives, which director Danis Tanović condenses into a winter novella.
At the Brenner border pass, new measures are planned to be taken to seal Austria off from migrants. A fence is being considered in addition to border controls between North and South Tyrol. The residents feel torn: Many fear the border fence as well as the reputedly threatening alienation of their native Tyrol. For two years, Nikolaus Geyrhalter documented the region around the Brenner and draws a portrait of a border region which refuses to calm down.