Τετάρτη, 6 Μαΐου 2009

Breath of air a documentary film by Lucia Rikaki

Some times a breath of fresh air brings people together for the most unexpected reason and they become family.
Nicosia the only divided European capital 2009
Pervin came from Turkey as she could not continue her school there
David came from Georgia following his mother's quest for work
Jasmin came from Iraq after the war
Levani came form Georgia after the war
Jim followed his single mother from the Philippines
George comes daily from a village otside Nicosia
Kemal prays in the Mosque
Nicol prays in the christian Church
the border is only 500 meters away from the school
some kids do not have the necessary papers to cross
A documentary on the most multinational school in Cyprus just a few hundred meters away from the Green line. Nicosia is the only European capital which yet remains divided. A visit to the school overwhelms you with the variety of nationalities and the original educational approach implemented by most teachers there.
The school is one of the most historic schools of the country.
The building itself is very interesting in terms of architecture, but mostly the area the old town of Nicosia is overwhelming.
46 teachers and 216 students attend coming from 21 nationalities This is an original educational experiment, a creative game of coexistence in this very area of the old town that the inhabitants themselves have some how turned into some sort of ghetto as they have abandoned living in the down town part of and this has now largely been inhabited by the new citizens the foreign workers that have been arriving in the last decades from all over the world seeking for a better future in Cyprus.
A very moving experience as well as the experiment.
A mosaic of different nationalities.
Some of the teachers and the students become the main characters of the film and through their stories we narrate the story of the school.
We portray the daily life of the school, which is so close to the heartbeat of the old town Nicosia. Kids live most of the day around the school, they do not go home, even on weekends, as most of their parents work late. The school and its creative extracurricular programme, is the ideal solution for kids to live within their new extended family. Just 5 of the students out of the 92 in the primary school are Cypriots and in high school 40 out of 120. Most come from former Soviet Union countries, other from Iraq, Bulgaria, the Philippines, China, Turkey. All these kids they do not only learn but they also teach. Encouraged by their teachers they teach they convey elements from their civilization to other children.
An autobiographical novel written by a young high school student gives a chance for some kids to discuss on how we pursue our dreams especially if our country is far away.
The experiences of a young student from Nigeria are integrated in a first level narration he does as an amateur actor in the school’s amateur theatre performance.
Two Muslim kids guide their other school mates in Islamic praying tradition, as they visit a Mosque in Nicosia just round the corner of their school.
Most teachers also very rarely leave the school before late night. “This fills us up with enormous energy” they say. “The kids appreciate very much our efforts and we all work as one. The school is still the centre of their lives.” The kids Faneromeni school hosts are taught about acceptance, about coexisting, about the wealth of the various cultures. Some of them practice strongly their culture and religion in the ethnic clubs round the city where their nostalgia, their dance, poetry and songs are the basis not to forget where you come from.
The particular geographical and political set up of the school also provides very interesting ground for reflection on recent Cyprus history and the recent history of the new migrating nations.
So close to this very particular national situation that has caused such an unresolved international issue.
Inevitably we look into this particular historical moment and how this effects the hosting of such a larger number of immigrants in this island.
A big treasure of life are life’s journeys. They are games with words, images, emotions situations that inter cut one with the other. Many stories are written on civilizations historical events wars and cultures. The story of the schools often remains untold. However it embodies so many of life’s realities. With humor, emotions, smiles and full of life. The film ‘Breath of air’ talks about this fresh breath of air, that brought so many different people into this beautiful extended family of the Faneromeni school.

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