HE NAMED ME MALALA (2015)
Davis Guggenheim directed this documentary based on the life of teenager Malala Yousafzai, who gained international fame at the age of fifteen when she stood up to the Taliban as an advocate for girls’ education, who in turn shot her in the head on Oct. 9, 2012 in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. She wrote her autobiography I AM MALALA and in Oct. 2013 it was published becoming an international bestseller. She has won the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in Oct. 2013 and at seventeen became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize in Oct. 2014. She has spoken in front of the United Nations and many world leaders and has said that if the whole world stopped spending money on the military for just 8 days, we could have the $39 Billion that would be needed to provide 12 years of free, quality education to every child on the planet. This remarkable young woman was named after the Afghani folk hero, Malalai of Maiwand by her beloved father, Ziauddin Yousafzai who has had an extraordinary influence on his daughter, encouraging her to go to heights rarely achieved by most Pakistani women. I applaud Davis Guggenheim, Laurie MacDonald and Walter Parkes (the latter two produced GLADIATOR, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN & MEN IN BLACK to name just a few) for bringing this remarkable story to the screen. Though at times I felt the documentary might have been more compelling in areas, it gives an extraordinary view into this young woman’s life and what propels her forward and her quest for quality education for all children, but especially for Middle Eastern girls who often times are deprived of advanced education solely based on their sex. This will be the film to beat for the Oscar for Best Documentary.