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Şcoala noastră | Mona Nicoară, Miruna Coca-Cozma, 2011
Romania / USA / Switzerland | 93 minutes
Q&A with Mona Nicoară!
This verité documentary co-directed by Brooklyn-based Mona Nicoară follows the trials and tribulations of three Roma (commonly known as “Gypsy”) children struggling against indifference, tradition, and bigotry in a small Transylvanian community. When their school is desegregated, Alin, Benjamin, and Dana set out for the city school, optimistic for education and new friendships, even as the funds designed for integration are dubiously used to build a “Roma-only” school in their village. Their innocent optimism quickly sours when the children are met with low expectations and further isolation, facing unsympathetic teachers who blatantly confess their true feelings to the filmmakers’ camera. Shot over the course of four years and touching on issues ranging from institutionalized racism to public education to the intractability of poverty, Our School is an affectionate yet infuriating story about generational prejudice and squandered opportunities.