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The First Grader

The First Grader

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  • Thu 11 Aug ’11, 11:15pm
  • Fri 12 Aug ’11, 6:15pm


Hoyts Northlands, Northlands Shopping Centre, Main North Rd, Papanui, Christchurch


All Ages

Festivals: Toronto, London 2010.

“Set in Kenya in 2003, The First Grader is the story of Maruge, an 84-year-old village elder who uses a government initiative to introduce free primary schooling to claim the education he has always craved. A former Mau Mau fighter, Maruge’s desire to learn to read and write has been sparked by the arrival of an important letter from the government. However, when he presents himself at the local school gates, he finds head teacher Jane alone in being sympathetic to his cause: her colleagues are unenthusiastic and her superiors appalled...

Shooting in the stunning Kenyan Rift Valley, and using a real school and its pupils, gives the film an authentic sense of place and community, and the children’s uninhibited, natural performances are a joy to watch. There is humour woven throughout, and a heartwarming affection and mutual respect between the dignified old man and his passionately progressive young teacher.” — Sandra Hebron, London Film Festival

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