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DOCSBARCELONA 2020

Review: La nova escola

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- Ventura Durall illustrates the adventurous educational movement that aspires to change teaching for children and youngsters so that they can face the future and avoid repeating past failures

Review: La nova escola

The DocsBarcelona International Documentary Film Festival – which unspooled from 19-31 May on the Filmin platform – world-premiered the new work by Ventura Durall in its official Latitud section. In addition to being an ESCAC-trained filmmaker, the director is the vice-president of ProDocs and a member of the board of PROA (the Catalonian Federation of Audiovisual Producers). In La nova escola [+see also:
trailer
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, he follows the emergence of the Escola Nova 21 movement in Catalonia over the last few years, through which a group of enthusiastic and courageous teachers are redeveloping the concept of education as we have known it up until now.

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After an introduction where the director uses images of his own daughter to illustrate the complex and wondrous process that is mental development, the documentary continues by intertwining archive images that, much like bumpers, serve to introduce different concepts in a film that not only goes into the intricate details of an educational revolution, but also questions the approach we have adopted to teaching children so far.

With various interventions by scientists and specialists in the field, La nova escola also sneaks into classrooms and manages to illustrate this new teaching method with real-life examples of kids who are experiencing a much more humanistic and less mechanical way of learning about the world and themselves. In order to construct this whole framework, the documentary team shot for three years, recording around 500 hours of footage, much of which was obtained during a complete school year, starting in September and ending in June. Likewise, the Escola Nova 21 team were filmed during their meetings, discussions and conferences.

Admittedly, this is perhaps not an especially daring documentary in terms of its form, nor is it dazzling visually, but on the other hand, it could be considered closer to an illustrative or informative work. However, it leaves several interesting questions up in the air while simultaneously opening up a new channel for deciphering the innovative, stimulating paths that education can tread, avoiding the repetition of outdated models that are geared more towards submission and hard work than towards fostering the freedom and creativity of the men and women of tomorrow. Because, as is claimed in the film, the old model no longer works.

La nova escola, with a screenplay penned by Ventura Durall and Guillem Sala, is a Nanouk Films production which secured the involvement of ICEC and a co-production by TVC. In addition, as stated on the production company’s website, if anyone is interested in organising an online screening of this documentary for a certain community – be it a class of students, a parents’ association, a group of friends or an entire school – they should write an email to distribution@nanouk.tv.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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