Hamptons International Film Festival Highlights
By Holly Buchanan
The Hamptons International Film Festival is off to a roaring start with Thursday Night’s opening film The Truth and four World Premieres Friday including Newman, Class Divide, The C Word and The Uncondemned. (More on The Uncondemned below.)
He Named Me Malala
“It is better to live like a lion for one day than to live like a slave for 100 years.”
So began the story of the brave woman who was the namesake of Malala Yousafzai. He Named Me Malala is the story of Malala Yousafzai, the girl shot by the Taliban who went on to be the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
I loved this movie for so many reasons. Malala is an incredibly inspiring person. But she is also a teenager. The film provides heartwarming insight into her family and her relationships with her mother, brothers and especially her father. It’s easy to forget that this girl who has already contributed a lifetime of work is just getting ready to go to college.
While being inspirational, the film is also tragic. It shines a light on the terror of the Taliban and the lengths they went to keep girls out of school. Malala shares why she fights so hard for education for girls.
“It provides girls with power, including the power to question.”
Ultimately He Named Me Malala is the story of the courage and profound effect one individual can have when he or she stands up and speaks the truth. As Malala says at the end of the film:
“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
I highly recommend this film, especially for students and young people looking for ways to make a difference in the world. There’s a Students Stand with Malala campaign that’s raised millions of dollars to send students who otherwise couldn’t afford to see the film to go to the movie.
Friday was the World Premiere of The Uncondemned in the Conflict and Resolution category. This may well be the most powerful movie of the festival. It is a documentary about a group of lawyers and activists attempting to prosecute rape as an international war crime as part of the genocide trials in Rwanda.
The premiere was a triumph as well as a tragedy. Co-director Nick Louvel was recently killed in a car crash in the Hamptons. Before the film there was a “behind the scenes” video featuring Nick and co-director Michele Mitchell. Michele shared that one of her last texts from Nick was a note saying they had made a good movie and should be proud.
Michele Mitchell was on hand along with the major players in the film for a fascinating panel discussion after the premiere.
Films about rape can be especially difficult to watch. Michele said they made a point of making a film that people wanted to watch. I think they accomplished that goal. Michele talked about how they approached the women and portrayed them in the film.
“We didn’t ask the women to describe what happened to them. We asked them why they chose to testify.”
I won’t give away too much, but ultimately The Uncondemned is about the need for justice. Panelist Binaifer Nowrojee commented:
“This movie is about the universal need for justice. It’s not about revenge. It’s about justice”
The Uncondemned is an incredibly engaging movie of courtroom drama and courageous women coming together to take back their power. You’re going to be hearing a lot about this film. Go see it.
Remember that if a film is on Rush it’s not sold out. They reserve seats for pass holders and release them before show time so it’s worth the wait in line.
For more info go to www.hamptonsfilmfest.org.