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The First Grader

It's never too late to dream.

Directed by Justin Chadwick, The First Grader is based on a true story and set in Kenya in 2003. Oliver Litondo stars as 84-year-old farmer and ex-freedom-fighter Kimani Ng’ang’a Maruge, who decides to take advantage of a new government initiative: free primary schooling for all. Maruge duly presents himself at the gate of a school run by kindly Jane Obinchu (Naomie Harris) and her assistant Alfred (Alfred Munyua), who inform him that the government initiative was meant for children only. Their resistance is met with Maruge’s persistence, and eventually he’s allowed to join the school. But his presence causes local and later national unrest, with Jane the only person seemingly prepared to fight his corner. Oliver Litondo is superb as Maruge, delivering a performance that is dignified, determined and quietly moving, while radiating warmth and humanity; his interactions with the children (especially a lame little girl and a boy who’s bullied by his strict father) are amongst the film’s highlights. Naomie Harris is equally good as Jane, generating strong chemistry with both Litondo and the children. Chadwick’s direction is assured throughout, particularly during the schoolroom scenes, which have an authentic feel thanks to the use of a real school and its pupils. – Matthew Turner, ViewLondon Official Trailer
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Directed by: 
Justin Chadwick
Running Time: 
English and Kikuyu with English subtitles.
Olivier Litondo, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Sam Feuer
Screenplay by: 
Ann Peacock

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