If you’re unfamiliar with the name Malala Yousafzai, you better catch yourself up. Malala is a young teenage girl from Swat, Pakistan. She is not only an advocate for children and women’s rights, but is also the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever.
Malala advocated for her right (and other girls rights in general) to attend school and receive an education while living in Pakistan. In October of 2012, at the age of 15, Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman who opposed her advocacy. She was on a school bus with some of her friends, two of which were also wounded. You can read more about Malala’s life in a profile by BBC here.
According to Malala’s website, she writes, “I don’t want to be thought of as the girl who was shot by the Taliban but the girl who fought for education. This is the cause to which I want to devote my life.” The Malala Fund is currently promoting female secondary education in Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria (and among Syrian refugees), Kenya, and Sierra Leone.
“He Named Me Malala” is a documentary following Malala’s life, and was released in early October of this year. You can see the trailer from YouTube below.
I have yet to see the documentary (as it appears it has yet to be released in an online format), but I have heard very good things about it. The only criticisms of the film I’ve seen are that it is directed toward an education audience (as a learning tool), and that it doesn’t spotlight Malala’s life as much as it should have.
Regardless, I hope you add this documentary to your watch list. It’s currently being played in select theaters (which you can look-up on the movie’s website), and may be available online soon. I think that it is a story worth listening to, and the documentary spotlights a problem that many Americans are unfamiliar with.
If you want to learn more about Malala and her campaign, I suggest looking at Malala’s organization and purchasing a copy of her book “Malala,” which is available on Amazon and from Barnes & Noble. You can also watch the New York Times documentary, “Class Dismissed” (2009) below, or from their website.
***Warning: The video does show very graphic images and footage that can be triggering/disturbing to some viewers. Please watch with caution.
***DISCLAIMER: May contain spoilers***
I am very, very late in watching “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which premiered in the U.S. in mid-May 2015. This movie has been praised for its brilliance in acting, cinematography, and plot. Some of the big names in this move are Tom Hardy (as Max), Charlize Theron (Imperator Furiosa), and Nicholas Hoult (Nux). One of my favorite actresses, Zoë Kravitz, even has a role.
According to a summary from IMDB;
“An apocalyptic story set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and almost everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life. Within this world exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order. There’s Max, a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And Furiosa, a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.”
The film follows Imperator Furiosa (Theron) as she escapes from the compound of the ruthless commander Immortan Joe (played by Hugh Keays-Byrne). Furiosa is pursued by Joe and his gang of “war boys,” as it is quickly discovered that she helped five of Joe’s prize “breeders” escape from their imprisonment; Toast the Knowing (Kravitz), The Splendid Angharad (played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), Capable (played by Riley Keough), The Dag (played by Abbey Lee), and Cheedo the Fragile (played by Courtney Eaton). The movie follows the two rebels and escaped wives, later joined by one of the war boys Nux (Hoult), as they drive through the desert in an effort to escape Joe.
I’ve heard “Mad Max” described as an hour-and-a-half long car chase, and after seeing it, I struggle to find a more accurate description. But that doesn’t mean the movie is in any way boring, slow, or predictable. It has excellent character development (through Furiosa, Max, Nux, and the wives), incredible cinematography (as it was filmed on-location in Namibia), and a well-thought out plot.
I especially liked that the movie was not entirely degrading to women. With five of the characters being “breeders” for Joe, it would have been very easy for rape and sexual violence to become themes in the film. This was fortunately not the case, although some other women were shown in compromising situations (but they were relatively equal to the treatment of men). Many viewers describe the movie as having a certain feminist undertone; the main character is a disabled woman (Furiosa), and an ongoing theme for the “wives” is that they are not “things.”
An article posted in The Guardian by Jessica Valenti further explains this theme;
“There were plenty of small and not-so-small feminist moments in the film: at one point, Max hands Furiosa his rifle because she’s the better shot and she uses his shoulder to steady it before firing; there’s a scene in which the wives cut off iron chastity belts in a moment of liberation and disgust; and the entire subplot involving the gang of matriarchal older women on motorcycles whose ‘one man, one bullet’ mantra is likely to raise more hackles than a ‘male tears’ mug.” (You can read the rest here)
I certainly enjoyed the movie, and would definitely see it again if given the opportunity. There were a lot of memorable moments, like the budding friendship between Max and Furiosa (they make a great team), Cheedo helping the alone and confused Nux, and Joe’s final demise.
However, this movie was not designed for all audiences, and is rated R for a reason. The content is very heavy, as it is a post-apocalyptic world and society has crumbled. I would not be so weary about language or nudity, but instead cannibalism and violence. The movie is not as gory as it could have been, but I would not recommend it to anyone squeamish or younger than 15.
You can watch the trailer below, and remember to catch the movie on DVD as it was recently released.
What we're watching.