Davis Guggenheim best known for his Oscar winning An Inconvenient Truth (2006) about global warming has now made a documentary about Malala Yousafzai the famous young Pakistani activist advocating the female right for education.
The doc shows her activities as an anonymous blogger for the BBC after the Taliban banned girls from attending school. Inspired by her father she turned to public activism which made her a target for the Taliban who did eventually made an assassination attempt on her life on 09oct12 when she was riding home on a schoolbus. She received a bullet in the head but survived. Several days later she was brought to the UK for additional medical treatment and has since been living in Birmingham and in 2014 became the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
You may very well be aware of most of the highlights of Malala’s life and the film at times is a bit repetitive in presenting them to be able to reach a length of 88 minutes to justify a theatrical release.
We do get to see footage of the girl behind the inspirational icon she has become that show her as an ordinary teenager who has crushes on sports idols such as Roger Federer and gets into ‘loving fights’ with her brothers and other stuff regular teenagers struggle with.
Some potentially interesting scenes such as her mothers problems with adapting to her new environment and having to learn English could have been longer. I would have liked to have seen more of her discussing the potential danger for future radicalastion due to the US drone attacks on Pakistan with Obama.
It’s not the most critical documentary you’ll every get to see and it’s clearly intended soly to be a source of inspiration with a lot of uplifting mantras like “When you educate a girl, it changes our world” and “Let us pick-up our books and our pencils. They are our most powerful weapon.”
It’s a bit of an irony that Malala who was named by her father after a Malalai of Maiwand a national folk hero of Afghanistan who rallied local fighters against the British troops and was killed by them is now living in England.
An even bigger irony is that Malala’s current life among the celebrities and her travels around the world giving numurous speeches like the one at the UN seems to be interfering somewhat with her eduction.