Girl Rising: I don't love cinema, I did love this

This inspiring film tells the story of nine girls across the developing world, all of whom are desperate to get, or desperately glad they got an education.

Share
Related Topics

I’m not much of a film fan, as I have mentioned here before. It’s not them, it’s me. While I love a bit of drama on a page, on a screen I find it almost unbearable. The sad bits are too sad, the scary bits too scary, and afterwards I always feel wrung out with having to care so much about all these characters. I don’t really like watching films with other people, and if I’m on my own, I’d rather read a book. I like to know what Hollywood actors are up to, as long as I don’t have to watch them at work. Philistine, film dyslexic, fool - call me what you will.

So the cinema is not one of my favourite places, and when I’m lucky enough to be offered tickets to screenings through work, I usually forward them to someone more receptive. But last week wild horses wouldn’t have kept me away from my fold-down seat and carton of popcorn. I had an invite to a preview of a film that I was, uncharacteristically, incredibly keen to see. I first heard about Girl Rising a few months ago. It’s a film that tells the stories of nine girls across the developing world, all of whom are desperate to get, or desperately glad that they got, an education.

It’s a documentary with a difference. Each girl’s tale has been adapted for the screen by a renowned writer from her home country. Each section, from Wadley in Haiti to Senna in Peru, Ruksana, an Indian “pavement-dweller” to Sokha in Cambodia, is filmed in a different style. The girls play themselves, apart from Amina (from Afghanistan) and Yasmin (from Egypt). Their lives, the film tells us, would be in danger if they appeared. Once you see the film, it’s clear to see why.

The girls’ stories are narrated by some of the best-known actors in Hollywood, including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek and Kery Washington. The combination of the all-star narrators and big-name authors is double-edged - some critics have bemoaned the glitz getting in the way of the real-life narratives, the film’s makers say they help the stories have more impact to further Girl Rising’s aim to to raise awareness and funds to promote girls’ education. And in doing so, improve the lives of girls, the societies they live in, their economic futures, reduce sex trafficking, under-age marriage and HIV.

So sitting in a packed screening room, I watched a film filled with drama. I was glad I stashed half a loo roll in my handbag beforehand, so I could wipe away my tears of sadness, outrage but also pride. The scary bits were scary. Afterwards, I felt wrung out because I cared so much about these girls. But I also felt inspired. I’m not much of a film fan, but I am a huge fan of Girl Rising.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Science versus religion in the three-parent baby debate

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Kylie has helped to boost viewing figures for the talent show  

When an Aussie calls you a ‘bastard’, you know you’ve arrived

Howard Jacobson
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee