The First Grader
The First Grader
United Kingdom, 2010, 98 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: Kenya
Topics: African Interest, Biopic, Family Friendly, History, Seniors
Program: Best of the Fest
Language: English, Kikuyu English Sub-Titles
Gorgeously shot on location in Kenya, and using many local nonprofessionals both behind the camera and as actors, Justin Chadwick’s (The Other Boleyn Girl) stirring drama turns the obstinate desire for an education on the part of 84-year-old Kikuyu tribesman Kimani (unforgettably played by Oliver Litondo) into a deeply affecting and emotionally uplifting tale.
Taking advantage of a 2002 Kenyan law that guaranteed free education for all, Kimani—a veteran Mau Mau freedom fighter who suffered at the hands of the British imperialist rulers—shows up at his local one-room school, walking stick in hand, and is reluctantly turned away by the sympathetic principal (Naomie Harris). But Kimani returns the next day, and the day after that…. His eventual acceptance allows director Chadwick to intersperse scenes of Kimani’s burgeoning education with flashbacks to the harsh treatment he received from the British. The effect is very moving and ultimately hopeful; despite Kenya’s—and by extension, Africa’s—troubled past, humanity, here in the form of one aged tribesman, refuses to give up. Winner, Audience Award, Tribeca Doha Film Festival.
Director & Producers to appear at screening.
DIRECTOR: Justin Chadwick
Producer: David M. Thompson, Sam Feuer, Richard Harding
Editor: Paul Knight
Screenwriter: Ann Peacock
Cinematographer: Rob Hardy
Music: Alex Heffes
Principal Cast: Naomie Harris, Oliver Musila Litondo, Vusi Kunene, Tony Kgoroge
Filmography: The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Print Source: National Geographic Cinema Ventures
This film is playing as a part of...
Closing Night Gala 2011 - THE FIRST GRADER
Eighty-four-year-old Kimani, a former Mau Mau freedom fighter, takes advantage of a new Kenyan law and goes to school…. Justin Chadwick’s emotionally uplifting drama cuts between Kimani’s education and flashbacks to his harsh treatment at the hands of the British. Winner, Audience Award, Tribeca Doh... more