Thursday, May 19, 2011

Trailer: The First Grader

Sometimes I feel that it's my responsibility to bring attention to films that otherwise get pushed to the sidelines because of soul-sucking blockbusters like Fast Five. So it's my duty to talk a little about an upcoming Maple Pictures' release I'm excited to see: The First Grader. As an East African (well, a second-generation East African, since I was actually born in Canada), I have a bit of a bias with this one even though I haven't seen it yet.

Based on a true story (aren't they always?), The First Grader is the inspirational story of an 84-year-old Kenyan villager who fights for his right to attend school that he couldn't afford to go to as a child. Just that synopsis alone is enough to pull at your heartstrings. The poor guy just wants to learn how to read - how can anyone deny him that?

I know it makes the Kenyan Government look pretty evil, denying an old man - a freedom fighter - an education he so desperately wants. But, the story itself seems more about showing the importance and value of education that North Americans take for granted. I've been there; I've visited those schoolrooms and I've seen the pride that is taken in something we find a nuisance. Even the smallest village in the middle of nowhere, with maybe 15 huts, has a school, and I think - and hope - that's the true spirit of the film. That no matter who you are, and no matter where you live, you have the RIGHT to an education.

The First Grader opens in Toronto on May 20th, in Montreal on May 27th and in Vancouver on June 3rd. 

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