A sixth-grade teacher in a Mexican border town upends convention so that his students might realize their potential in this engrossing, fact-based drama. Paloma lives next door to a dump and dreams of being an astronaut. Quick-witted Nico shares a seaside shack with an older brother, both seemingly destined as fodder in the illegal drug trade. Observant and kind, Lupita cannot even begin to imagine a future for herself as she raises her younger siblings. These are the impoverished students whose lives Sergio (Eugenio Derbez, CODA’s charismatic music teacher) intends to change. Tired of public education failing kids, he ditches the standard curriculum in favor of improvisation, adopting student-centered learning in his classes.

Adapted from a Wired story and produced by the founders of Epic magazine, publisher of the photo essay that inspired the series Little America, this Sundance audience favorite raises the question: Why don’t all schoolrooms already look like Sergio’s? —Shari Kizirian

In Spanish with English subtitles. Director: Christopher Zalla (Mexico 2023) 127 min.


$13.25 General | $9.75 Seniors & Youth | $7.75 CAFILM members