London Film Festival: ‘He Named Me Malala’ Film Review

By Leslie Byron Pitt @Afrofilmviewer

He Named Me Malala details the life of Pakistani female activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai. The film juxtaposes Yousafzai’s strong family bonds and elevated celebrity status, with the tragic events which left her permanently wounded by Taliban gunmen and led her on the path to her current activism.

Both humorous and humane with its observations, this polished documentary may serve to be a neat historical footnote for liberal head-nodders who agree with Malala (and her Father’s) political plight. However, for the many who believe that refugees are a blight, that particular sector of viewers will most likely end up siding with some of the unimpressed naysayers who appear in the film. The film’s craft is there for all to see, yet the glossy shine of the piece will do little to sway those whose only view on the plight of Muslims and/or females as an aggressive one.

That said, Davis Guggenheim (Waiting for Superman) clearly shows that he’s a documentarian with his heart often set on the condition of education in various forms. In addition to this, Superman and An Inconvenient Truth, Guggenheim shows that while the politics have a clear slant, the conversation is still worth the engagement. Particularly in a film such as this, which deals with culture clashes and the conflicts of modernism, traditionalism and ideology with a warm drollness which matches the engaging charisma of the personality it captures. A film that’s encouraging to the converted.

He Named Me Malala is showing at the London Film Festival this week, full listings here.


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