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

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Piper Ryan Randall leads a pro-Scottish independence rally in the suburbs of Edinburgh  

i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Some believe that David Cameron is to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum  

Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?

Mark Steel
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam