Colours of the Alphabet is an African version of the beautiful Etre et Avoir. This bittersweet documentary follows three Zambian children through their first year of school. In the most basic of rural classrooms the children speak several mutually incomprehensible languages, the teacher another, and together they must embrace the country’s official language, English. Underlying this delicately intimate observation, Scotland-based director Alastair Cole highlights the fact that 40 per cent of the world’s children do not have access to education in their mother-tongue. With multi-coloured subtitles to distinguish between the languages spoken, this amusing and moving portrayal of schooling in another culture emphasises a global predicament and asks what are the consequences of educating a multi-lingual, multi-cultural population in a foreign tongue? The film’s screening is followed by a Q&A with director Alastair Cole as he grapples with these questions.
Director: Alastair Cole
UK/NZ/Zambia, 2016, 80 mins, multiple languages with English subtitles, 15
£6.50 full / £4.50 concessions