Nice doesn't work

Ulrike Korbach's documentary "Nice doesn't work"  is the result of two years of filming everyday life in Lalok Libre in the style of cinema veritèe.
The focus is on Venetia, the volonteer leader of LALOK LIBRE, her family and personal life as well as at the personal problems of four girls: broken homes, religious dress codes, school refusal and bullying. Most of the girls are of Roma or Syria families. So the issue of this documentary is migration and integration.


At LALOK Libre, an intercultural youth culture center in Gelsenkirchen, Venetia Harontzas opens up a different world to young girls. With a firm hand and a lot of heart, she is there for "her daughters" to boost their self-confidence and persuade their traditional Eastern European or Muslim families to change their ways.
"We can be nice... but it's no good," reads a sign on the wall of LALOK - and this is exactly Venetia's motto, which she follows when dealing with children, families and even higher authorities.
The 66-year-old advises families on bureaucratic matters, cooks lunch for at least 40 children, offers homework supervision and leisure activities. Like the flamenco group she founded more than ten years ago, which trains with a professional dancer and where the tone is rough. But the effort is rewarded with performances at major events - including fees for the girls.
And the reward for Venetia? A good school-leaving certificate for one of her "daughters", a step away from her preconceived life plans. Everything else is voluntary work - out of passion, but also because of her own childhood experiences of domestic violence.

The film focuses on the girls at LALOK, who are particularly close to Venetia's heart. Traditionally, they become mothers as teenagers. School and further education are not considered as important. Venetia tries to counteract this: "Sometimes I think I show the girls here a world that is not open to them. Because their world says: this is our tradition, you are a girl, you have to get married, you have to have children. But maybe I can convince them not to have six children or eight, but to stick with four. That's already a gain! For society too. Because they have more time for four children than for eight."