Saturday, 22nd of March 2014: 727 Days without Karamo.
I really did not know what to expect. I did not read the movie description, all I knew was that it was in German with English and Romanian Subtitles. The timeslot fit, the cinema was not far from my house and it was a documentary about something human rights related.
Sounds good, no? Let’s go.
The movie ended up being about intercultural marriages in Austria (how fitting for me, no? Austrian national, with a boyfriend from Venezuela…if we ever decide to get married and live in Austria this is what’s ahead of us…oh god. Well thank god that’s not happening any time soon ^^)
The movie followed several different relationships at different stages in the work permit, and visa bureaucracy. I knew it was difficult to get married to a non-Austrian as an Austrian person, but I didn’t know that the state made it THAT difficult for people. Much like the couples in the movie, I thought that once you got your work permit and your official marriage out of the way you would be able to stay in the country for as long as you wanted. Guess not. Even if you are married, you have to renew your permits first every year and after a couple of years, every two years…for the rest of your life. WHAT?
The best part comes next though, if you want to get a divorce…because how DARE you want to get a divorce? You must have only gotten married to stay in this country and now that you have your permit you want to get divorced! It has nothing to do with the fact that the divorce rate in Austria is at 50%. How dare international marriages want to get a divorce!
Anyway, if you want to get a divorce…no matter if you have a job, friends, a life, etc. in Austria you will be kindly asked to leave the country.
Now I dare someone to tell me that Austria’s not really racist.
On top of all of these problems, as a couple (or family) you need to have a certain amount of income. And this is a number that’s quite high (For a couple E1200). Now if two people work that isn’t too bad and can be easily reached, but the problem is that unless you have a work permit, you are not allowed to work. You only get the work permit after you have successfully found the exit to the bureaucratic maze that is created by the government. So, it is up to the Austrian in the relationship to make all the money.
Something that stuck with me from this movie are the colours yellow and orange. I am still not sure why, but there was a LOT of yellow in the film. Every scene that showed the different families and partners they were either wearing yellow, the background was yellow, even the bicycle one of the women was riding was yellow. If someone knows the answer to this, please let me know what it means!
After having sat in the cinema for around an hour and a half, I was very glad I randomly picked a movie to watch. It seemed like fate to see such a great movie about a topic that usually isn’t broadcasted at any human rights events. I liked that the festival didn’t only focus on the usual suspects like China, India, Congo, etc. but that movies from countries like Austria were also shown. A country that despite its surprisingly bad Human Rights Record is not seen as a country of huge concern in this area.
Thank you One World Romania curators!