Friday, January 18, 2013

Our School is a New York Times Critics' Pick!

  We are thrilled to be selected as a Critics' Pick in The New York Times today! Jeannette Catsoulis's review, published ahead of Our School's limited engagement presented by the Independent Filmmaker Project and the Romanian Film Initiative at the reRun theater in New York notes:
"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. Following three Roma, or Gypsy, youngsters for four years beginning in 2006, the directors, Mona Nicoara and Miruna Coca-Cozma, record the spasms of desegregation with patient persistence... And as events gather tragic momentum, the filmmakers see no need to underline their shamefulness. There’s no shortage of Romanians happy to do it for them."
Two days ago, The Village Voice also published an excellent review of Our School, under the provocative title "Seriously, People Still Hate Gypsies?" Nick Pinkerton noted that: 
"Despite the efforts of many interviewees to seem broad-minded, Nicoara has a knack for ferreting out moments that reveal actual Romanian attitudes—there's an Audi-driving priest and his wife, whose great act of charity is letting Dana work for them for free, and the teacher assigned to a Roma classroom who exasperatedly says, 'They have violence in their blood!' The school director will later opine, 'They come from an environment that lures them into dropping out and into tribal life,' anticipating his failure, but Our School does much to establish how that Roma 'environment' is reinforced from the outside."
And Film Journal International pointed out in its review that: 
"Our School's final, four-years-later summation—more than a coda, less than a fully fleshed-out segment—falls somewhere between starry optimism and resignation, and it's remarkably affecting in the way real life often is. Dana, Beni and Alin's lives have changed...not dramatically, but appreciably, and it's hard not to come away with a new (or renewed) respect for the potential power of baby steps."
The film opens tonight at reRun (147 Front St in Dumbo, Brooklyn), with a special Q&A with Director Mona Nicoara and attorney James Goldston, who argued on behalf of Roma children in landmark desegregation cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights. Most of early screenings are already sold out online. The remaining tickets can be purchased here.