[film] The First Grader
I went to see this with my sister on Sunday and it was great. I can be quite sceptical when it comes to stories about Africa/Caribbean but both my sister and I thoroughly enjoyed it (although she did wonder how many times she’d seen the ‘African children running’ shot, lol). We arrived a few minutes late so didn’t realise the film was based on a true story until the end of the film which was really the icing on the cake.
The film is due to be released in the UK on the 24th of June for a limited time *sigh*. There’s also a great opportunity to donate money to the kids who were featured in the film.
In a small, remote mountain top primary school in the Kenyan bush, hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education newly promised by the Kenyan government. One new applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school. He is Maruge (Oliver Litondo), an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties, who is desperate to learn to read at this late stage of his life. He fought for the liberation of his country and now feels he must have the chance of an education so long denied – even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside six-year-olds.
Moved by his passionate plea, head teacher Jane Obinchu (Naomie Harris), supports his struggle to gain admission and together they face fierce opposition from parents and officials who don’t want to waste a precious school place on such an old man.
Full of vitality and humour, the film explores the remarkable relationships Maruge builds with his classmates some eighty years his junior. Through Maruge’s journey, we are taken back to the shocking untold story of British colonial rule 50 years earlier where Maruge fought for the freedom of his country, eventually ending up in the extreme and harsh conditions of the British detention camps.