An engaging illustration of the power of giving, this compassionate, assertive documentary begins with the story of Chris Mburu, whose life was dramatically altered by a stranger’s kindness. As a bright but deprived child growing up in rural Kenya, Mburu was chosen to receive educational funding from a Swedish sponsor. Now a human-rights lawyer working for the UN, Mburu tracks down his astonished benefactor, a retired schoolteacher and Holocaust survivor, Hilde Back. Inspired by her, Mburu sets up a sponsorship scheme of his own and the film also follows three deserving young scholars who hope to benefit from similar generosity.
Infused with the unabashed optimism of Mburu – understandably passionate about education – it’s a gregarious film which avoids dry facts and political context and instead focuses on the situations, needs and voices of individuals. ‘A Small Act’ is a blazing rhapsody: an enormously big-hearted work which, in its devastating simplicity, effectively demonstrates the exponential impact of a single gesture of goodwill.