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The golden age of learning in 'The First Grader'


The golden age of learning in 'The First Grader'

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It is never too old to learn according to “The First Grader,” a movie based on the true story of a tribesman in Kenya who went to primary school at the age of 84.

After the Kenyan government established universal free education, Kimani Ng’ang’a Maruge claimed his place to learn to read and write.

Naomie Harris who plays the primary school teacher, said: “When I first read the script I just loved that it was a positive image of Africa because so often we see films about Africa and they have to do with genocide or poverty or some kind of negativity and I just love the fact that it was a universal story really, about one man’s desire to learn, to educate… one woman’s inability to allow this injustice.”

Director Justin Chadwick cast an entire school of Masaii children and former Kenyan television news anchorman Oliver Litondo who stars as the illiterate old man.

“I think that the scenes that were the most difficult to do. Every day was fantastic with the children and they were wonderful,” said Chadwick. “The difficult scenes to do were the ones about his wife, because he talked about his wife and the love he had and those were… I couldn’t shy away from them. I had to get them right.”

The First Grader was shown at Telluride last year and hits UK cinemas in June.

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