Some thoughts on Day 9:
- This blog was referenced by an article on The Guardian's film blog.
- Home for Christmas: based on some of the short stories of Levi Henriksen, this film from director Bent Hamer (Kitchen Stories, O'Horten) consists of several vignettes, largely connected only by the fact they all occur on the same Christmas Eve. There's the workaholic doctor called out for a childbirth; a couple of teenagers connecting with one another; the woman in an affair with a man who will never leave his wife; a divorced man who can't give his own kids presents on Christmas; a homeless man trying to make it back to his hometown; and others. The film constantly shifts between stories, and despite the short time available to each, you do develop feelings and sympathies for the characters. Only one story, that of an old man and his aged mother didn't really click for me, but the others found me longing for family and the holidays.
- The First Grader: this film is based on the real-life story of Kimani Ng'ang'a Maruge, a veteran of the Mau Mau Uprising against British colonial rule in Kenya in the 1950's. After the government announced free universal education for all in 2003, Maruge, at the age of 84, enrolled in primary school to get the education he never had as a child. At first, the teachers refuse to admit him, but his persistence causes head teacher Jane Obinchu (played by Naomie Harris) to relent. Jane and Maruge must fight against wary parents and the system to keep Maruge in school, all the while Maruge must deal with his own demons from the past. An inspiring, dramatic, and at times, funny, story.