Director Christopher Zalla / 2023 / Mexico

CODA (MIFF 2021) scene-stealer Eugenio Derbez leads this luminous Sundance Festival Favorite Award winner about an inspiring teacher.

After charming audiences as the big-hearted choir leader in eventual Oscar Best Picture winner CODA, Derbez returns to the big screen to play another life-changing educator. This time, the beloved Mexican superstar plays Sergio, an irrepressible man determined to usher the adorable kids in his classroom into better lives beyond the poverty and cartel-driven violence racking their city, Matamoros, on the US border.

Helmed by Kenyan-born filmmaker Christopher Zalla, who wowed MIFF audiences in 2008 with his dog-eat-dog thriller Padre Nuestro, this feel-good film based on Sergio Juarez Correa’s real-world story follows in the footsteps of classics of the genre, including To Sir With Love, Dead Poets Society and Dangerous Minds. But Zalla’s sincere direction and Derbez’s impeccable performance create an unforgettable tale all its own. A tearjerker that does not deny the difficult realities at play, Radical brims with faith in the new generation – and in the adults who must fight for their futures.

Radical more than earns its surging emotional payoff … with its resolute channeling of hope even in the wake of tragedy.” – Hollywood Reporter

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