Back to IndieWire

“He Named Me Malala” Tells the Story of an Ordinary Girl Who Could Change the World

“He Named Me Malala” Tells the Story of an Ordinary Girl Who Could Change the World

Who is Malala Yousafzai? That’s the question that filmmaker Davis Guggenheim tries to answer in his documentaryHe Named Me Malala.”

Born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai, was a proponent for girls’ education, and demanded that girls in Pakistan be able to receive an education. As a result, she was issued a death threat, targeted, and ultimately, shot by the Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat Valley on October 9, 2012 while she was traveling home from school. Having survived the bullet, the documentary illustrates her hospitalization, rehabilitation, recovery, and forgiveness process.

Ironically, Malala Yousafzai, was named after Malalai of Maiwand, a national folk hero of Afghanistan, who encouraged and fought alongside with local Pashtun fighters that revolted against the British troops at the 1880 Battle of Maiwand. She was responsible for the Afghan’s victory on July 27, 1880. Many schools, hospitals, and other institutions are named after Malalai of Maiwand in Afghanistan, and she is known as the “the Afghan Joan of Arc.”

Malala Yousafzai’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, explained, “That name was so inspirational to me that I thought that if I had a daughter, I will name her after the Malalai of Maiwand. There was a real deep passion in my heart when I was naming my daughter after her, that she will have a role. She will have a life. She will have a recognition. She will have an identity, which Malalai of Maiwand had.”

Director, Davis Guggenheim (‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and ‘Waiting For Superman’), stated, “Malala’s is an incredible story of a girl who risked her life to speak out for what is right.”

Malala Yousafzia, “They thought that the bullet would silence us. But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear, and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”

Malala Yousafzia is a hero because she spoke out. She is just an ordinary girl who has found her sense of purpose. She is now a leading campaigner for girls’ education globally as co-founder of the Malala Fund.

He Named Me Malala” opened theatrically Friday October 2nd from Fox Searchlight. It grossed $2,750,000.

This Article is related to: Features and tagged , , , , , , , , ,