Ed Moschitz / Austria / 2011 / 102 min.
Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. Life is particularly difficult in the countryside. The former granary of the Soviet Union is mired in poverty, despair, and alcohol. Consequently, it is not surprising that many Moldovans, particularly Moldovan women, illegally emigrate to Western Europe in order to make money to support their relatives at home. The documentary Mama Illegal tells the story of three women who seek work and happiness in Austria and Italy. Hired as cleaners, they dream of a better life and worry about being deported back to their homeland, while the children they left behind are raised by distant relatives. As a result, an entire generation of modern-day economic orphans is growing up in Moldovan villages. Moreover, as the film shows, some women are frequently willing to accept the complete alienation of their children for the sake of a better life in Western Europe. The soundtrack for the film, which excellently illustrates the causes and effects of economic migration, features music by the popular Moldovan group Zdob si Zdub.