Shot over four years, this tender vérité story of three Roma children swept in a school desesgregation project touches on race relations and identity construction, public education policy and teacher training, development aid and poverty reduction, culminating in an outrageous finale that cements the Roma children's struggle in the annals of egregious international human rights law violations.
A poignant, perceptive documentary that points up the need for a change in heart as well as policy, this is highly recommended.
Alin, Beni, and Dana, three Roma ("Gypsy") children from a small Transylvanian village, are among the first participants in an initiative to integrate the ethnically segregated Romanian schools. In 2006, they leave their dead-end segregated school for a mainstream school, optimistic for education and new friendships with Romanians. Their hopes and innocent optimism quickly sour as they encounter prejudice and low expectations, even as the European Court of Human Rights rules on a landmark case that is the continent's Brown vs. Board of Education.
Part case study on entrenched racism, part heartbreaking human-rights story, Our School observes the feinting of small-town officials in rural Transylvania as they try to duck a mandate to integrate Roma children into the regular school system.
Exercising admirable restraint in its expose of ingrained racism in the Romanian educational system, absorbing docu Our School follows the sad yet resilient journey of three Roma children over four years as they grapple with prejudice and stereotyping...Even-keeled pic carries echoes of Michael Apted's groundbreaking Up series.
Moving and galvanizing, Our School was filmed in color in Romania, but finds racism as shocking as the Lovings faced in the Jim Crowe South. Like watching the European equivalent of the aftermath of Brown vs. Board of Education, endemic prejudice against the Roma (or Gypsy) people plays out bald-faced in front of the cameras of Mona Nicoara and Miruna Coca-Cozma in one small town, where the European Court of Human Rights ordered school integration of Roma children to begin...This quietly observed, yet explosive documentary could be exhibit A in another law suit.
Some documentary films take us far away to reveal what we did not know while other documentaries return us home to confront what we already know. Our School does both...Targu-Lapus is far off in the Transylvania Mountains, yet it mirrors what we know about small towns in the Appalachian Mountains.
A moving dedication to the Roma people in Romania, chronicling their incredible resilience and character in the face of perpetual segregation and discrimination...A film that simultaneously made me love even more those extraordinary human beings we call Gypsies, and hate the infuriating traditions of institutionalized racism present in so many modern societies, and so dangerously insidious.