I’m not quite sure how, but I managed to make it to my senior year without seeing a movie at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, an independent and community operated theater founded by a BMC alumna. Knowing I had it left on my bucket list, I bookmarked the Institute’s website at the beginning of the year and checked their schedule every so often. Last weekend I checked their calendar and was ecstatic to discover they had added four screenings of “He Named Me Malala” to their line up. I had been dying to see it, and since the only screening in the Philadelphia area was over Fall Break, I had become disappointed I would not have the opportunity to see it during its limited release. Thankfully, I was able to make one of the screenings at the Film Institute, and last Wednesday I finally saw my first film at the BMFI. It could not have been a more perfect one.
“He Named Me Malala” tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, the incredibly powerful young woman who, with the help and encouragement of her father, used her voice to tell the world that young girls deserve to be educated. Targeted by the Taliban for her advocacy, they made an attempt on her life in 2012. Beating the odds, she survived the attack, and in the years since, she has raised her voice even higher, becoming a champion for young girls all over the world. Now a Nobel Peace Prize winner for her extraordinarily selfless work, the documentary shows a mix of footage highlighting both her efforts fighting for girls’ education and scenes of her playing and laughing with her family. In between, beautifully drawn animations tell stories from the past to help explain how Malala and her family arrived where they are in their lives today.
To say the film was powerful would be an understatement. Watching and listening to Malala and her father speak about their work and motivations left me in awe. There were multiple moments throughout the documentary that left audience members teary eyed by showing how forgiving, kind, and truly selfless Malala is. She has such a passion and love for her home country of Pakistan and girls’ education that it is contagious. I believe everybody should see and learn about her story. If you are interested in learning more about this inspiring young woman, or would like to join her campaign to educate girls all over the world, you can find more information at: https://www.malala.org/
“It is so hard to get things done in this world. You try and too often it doesn’t work. But you have to continue. And you never give up.” — Malala Yousafzai in “He Named Me Malala”