Doc Talk

Against the odds: films about overcoming adversity

Omar Kennedy in Emily Abt’s “Daddy Don’t Go.”
Omar Kennedy in Emily Abt’s “Daddy Don’t Go.”DOC NYC

Judging from some of the political rhetoric you hear these days, sexism is making a comeback in the USA. But in parts of India, Pakistan, and Nepal where human trafficking and sexual slavery thrives, misogynistic violence, inequality, and exploitation are the way things are. Victims have little hope of justice. Yet still they fight back.

Malala Yousafzai fought back. In the Swat Valley in Pakistan in 2009 at the age of 12, she defied the Taliban prohibition against educating girls. In 2012, Taliban gunmean stopped the bus that the 15-year-old was taking to school and shot her three times. She survived, and the attempted assassination only brought her cause and example to the attention of the world. In 2014, she won the Nobel Peace Prize.


The documentary “He Named Me Malala” by Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth”) follows up on her story, checking in on her life in exile in Birmingham, England. As it flashes back on her extraordinary achievements, the film shares her everyday life with her family and reveals how in many ways she’s just a regular teenager. And for those who’ve given up on the cause of gender equality, she shows how one voice backed by resolution and courage can change the world.

“He Named Me Malala” will have a GlobeDocs-sponsored screening on June 23 at 6 p.m. to benefit “Strong Women Strong Girls,” at the Fenway Center in Boston.

For more information go to www.facebook.com/events/867905736646779 .

Cell block

Those who experience freedom after incarceration soon realize that their freedom is limited. “When [we] go into prison [we] get a handbook on how to conduct ourselves within that prison system,” says one of the inmates in the documentary “Beyond the Wall,” by local filmmakers Bestor Cram and Jenny Phillips. “Two years later, three years later, you get released but don’t get a handbook on how to live life.”


For four years Cram and Phillips followed the lives of six men who found themselves in that situation. They trace their triumphs and trials and show how their humanity which must contend at times with the inhumanity of the system.

“Beyond the Wall” will have a free screening on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. in Room 428 in the Massachusetts State House. Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian and the filmmakers, along with some of those featured in the film, will participate in a discussion after the screening. The film also screens June 27 at the Fusion Theatre in Lowell.

For more information go to www.beyondthewallfilm.com/#new-page-1 .

Dads at a disadvantage

On Father’s Day we should remember those dads who have to work harder to maintain their responsibilities. In “Daddy Don’t Go,” documentarian Emily Abt shares two years in the lives of four of these young men for whom fatherhood is a daily challenge. Contrary to the “deadbeat dad” stereotype, they raise their kids while contending with the pressures of low-income jobs, tough neighborhoods, few prospects, and little outside support.

“Daddy Don’t Go” is available on Vimeo on June 19. It’s a much better gift idea for your own dad than getting him a new tie.

For more information go to www.vimeo.com/ondemand/daddydontgo .

Peter Keough can be reached at petervkeough@gmail.com.