Set in a mountain village in Kenya the film tells the remarkable true and uplifting story of a proud old Mau Mau veteran who is determined to seize his last chance to learn to read and write - and so ends up joining a class alongside six year-olds. Together he and his young teacher face fierce resistance, but ultimately they win through - and also find a new way of overcoming the burdens of the colonial past.Written by
Tony Kgoroge is a frequent collaborator with director Justin Chadwick, having also appeared in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013), another film Chadwick directed. See more »
At 1:40 in the movie the radio disc jockey says, "I am now beginning to believe that one day a Kenyan, a Kenyan, will go to the White House."
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During the initial credits, there is 1. a photo of the real Maruge with some students. 2. a scene with the DJ mentioning Maruge's trip to the UN, and predicting that a Kenyan will ascend to the White House. 3. more scenes of the children at the school See more »
This film is about a 84-year-old man who insists on attending primary school, when the Kenyan government announces that there is free education for all.
"The First Grader" is about an elderly man who wants to be educated. His action provokes debate within the viewer, as we have to decide on how to interpret the Kenyan government's promise, ethical issues, effective allocation of public resources and opportunity costs. This topic is already very interesting and intellectually stimulating. There is also a subplot about the dark colonial history of Kenya, which probably aims to enhance the viewers' connection with the protagonist. However, I find the subplot ineffective without more detailed background history of Kenya, and more development on this subplot. Despite the shortcoming, "The First Grader" is still a touching and inspiring tale.
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