Our School follows three Roma (commonly known as “Gypsy”) children in a rural Transylvanian village who are among the pioneer participants in an initiative to integrate the ethnically segregated Romanian schools. When their school begins to desegregate, Alin, Benjamin, and Dana set out for the city school, optimistic for education and new friendships, even as funds earmarked for integration are questionably used to renovate the old Roma-only school in their village.
Shot over four years, the filmmakers’ tender portrait of rural village life and its rhythms fosters an intimacy in the children’s profound reality and admiration for their indomitable spirit, which is then punctuated with shocking instances of prejudice and ignorance. Their story touches on issues ranging from institutionalized racism, public education, and the intractability of poverty, culminating in an outrageous finale that cements the Roma children’s struggle in the annals of egregious human rights violations. Our School is an absorbing, infuriating, and ultimately bittersweet story of tradition and progress.
Romania/USA/Switzerland, 2011, 90 minutes
In Romanian with English subtitles
Directed by Mona Nicoara and Miruna Coca-Cozma
Primary Cast: Alin Moldovan, Beniamin Lingurar, Dana Varga
Producers: Mona Nicoara and Miruna Coca-Cozma
Editor: Erin Casper
Co-producer: Miruna Coca-Cozma
Celebrating what is innovative, interesting, and inspiring in documentary, The DocYard is a bi-weekly film and discussion series at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge. Every other Monday from June through August, we will gather together to be introduced to films and filmmakers and connect with one another.