#TIFF15: “HE NAMED ME MALALA”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
I went to the screening of Oscar winning documentarian Davis Guggenheim latest feature, HE NAMED ME MALALA, knowing the basics: when the Taliban took over the tiny village of Swat in Pakistan and forbade girls the right to any kind of education, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai spoke out against this policy and was shot in the head. Against all odds, she survived and after months of painful recuperation in Birmingham, England, she and her father, Ziauddin, have traveled the world as advocates for female education, culminating with her winning the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
Using stunning animation to tell Malala’s backstory as well as family photos and some stock footage, Guggenheim not only captures her and her father on their many global and valiant visits, HE NAMED ME MALALA succeeds, brilliantly, because we witness a side of this exceptional young woman never seen before. This is a 17-year-old teenager who teases, and is teased relentlessly by, her younger brothers. She checks-out pictures of Roger Federer and Brad Pitt on the internet and is a huge fan of the sport of cricket. She teaches her father how to use Twitter and giggles shyly when it comes to talk of romance. The family dynamics are a sheer joy to watch, even though their transition to a new life in England is fraught with much sadness. Malala’s mother is still struggling with learning English and misses her home fiercely. The courage of this young woman and her family is inspirational.
HE NAMED ME MALALA is a powerful, educational and motivating documentary feature length movie making at its finest.
This movie screens at TIFF ’15:
Sunday Sept.13 11:30am at Bloor Hot Docs cinema
Saturday Sept 19 6:15pm at Scotiabank