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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
This is a very good movie which operates at various levels. Ostensibly about an 84 year-old man going to primary school for the first time, it also covers (in graphic detail) a dark period in Kenya's and Britain's past: The Mau Mau Rebellion.
The issues raised are complex: the right for an old man to an education even if it excludes another child in a country of stretched educational resources; the fight for freedom and the integrity of an oath; and the battle against officialdom are but a few. Above all, it's a struggle against adversity on a variety of levels, both past and present.
The Mau Mau Rebellion is often overlooked in histories outside Kenya and this is well portrayed in the film. At times it is frightening and certainly very threatening and the director contrasts the flashbacks of the past with those of the present.
The acting, cinematography, editing are excellent. As is the beautiful yet unobtrusive soundtrack. And even though it becomes a tad clichéd, it is still an impressive and inspiring story. I was very moved by itnot least the dignity of the old man given all the injustices he suffered. Certainly worth a watch and better than a lot of movies I have seen this year.
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