Robert André lives in Paris. He has resided in France for the past 15 years. After studying literature in his hometown at the University of San Diego, California, he attended the University of Leuven in Belgium. A scholar in the Edmund Husserl Archives, he was awarded a degree in Philosophy. Mr. André then returned to the United States where he worked in the field of psychology for the State of California. He later decided to return to Europe and settle in France where he has focused his work in the arts.

In France, he studied acting and directing under Ludwik Flaszen who was co-founder, along with Jerzy Grotowski, of the Laboratory Theatre in Poland. Mr. André went on to study film and video with Philippe Ros and Jacques Pigeon. This led to his work as free-lance cameraman on a number of independent films. He has directed his own short films including Waltzing, filmed in wartime Bosnia and Herzegovina in collaboration with the Theatre of Tulza; and the documentary film Forbach Opus II, a lyrical ballad contrasting a festival of new music along the French-German border with the closing of coal mines in the region and the effect this had on the people of these communities. Mr. André’s documentary and fiction screenplays; include: L’Apero; Kiss Me I’m Serb; and You Are Here.

India has been his focus for the past four years. Robert André has worked on several film and video projects in Pondicherry and Bangalore as well as in the State of Orissa. In India, his work has been as a screenplay writer, director and cinematographer. School Without Walls is Robert André’s most recent documentary film project. It was produced by Mosaïque Films in Paris. The filming took place in the State of Andhra Pradesh, India.

To contact Robert André mailto:rhdiego@yahoo.com

30 mai 2005

School Without Walls - Synopsis

Modern India has become a major economic force in the world. Its rural communities must develop new methods for its people to participate in this growth. But ties to the past are difficult to break. The RIVER program in Andhra Pradesh is a school founded by the Krishnamurti Foundation to bring the traditions of India into this new society. Through the eyes of children, the games of men, and the tears of women, School Without Walls reveals a poignant tale of the past becoming the present.

There was once a time when children in a small village, deep in rural India, sang under the tall palm trees, ran across the green fields, danced amongst the most ancient of stones, and watched the moon and stars at night. They called that school…and still do.

School Without Walls is at one and the same time, both an enchanted voyage and an onerous story. Little Ashwini and her friends from the village take you by the hand and bring you into their homes and their school. This discovery of the villagers’ everyday life reveals their rich tradition, colourful folklore, and music. The men reunite, discuss, and drink. They have their own way of looking at life, and the changes taking place in their community. In a more intimate manner, the women confide the plight of their situation, their work, their married life, and their children’s education, wherein hope still reigns.

The RIVER program was started by the Rishi Valley School founded by Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986). Their challenge was to introduce education into this deep rural context. Through the children and their parents, you discover how this program adapts to their way of life and respects their traditions. The school becomes an integral part of their community where the villagers take part, the children enjoy learning, and the women have hope.

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