Richard E. Robbins tried to ignore the urge to make Girl Rising. But he told a Cleveland International Film Festival crowd last night that the statistics he came across about girls and education in developing countries stayed with him. The Academy Award nominee felt so strongly about the need for more girls to be educated that he stepped away from Hollywood to make this enlightening 101-minute film.
Told through nine short vignettes narrated by celebrities such as Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep, the film paints a vivid portrait of girls around the globe fighting for the right to an education. Instead of using talking heads and provided footage, the girls’ stories are recreated through stunning cinematography and inventive animation. Each story tackles a different issue. For example, gentle Suma from Nepal escapes a life of being a bonded servant with the help of a kind teacher, while defiant Wadly from Haiti goes to school post-earthquake despite having no money.
The film offers scope through scenes of girls holding up statistics representing the plight of girls around the world. Although not all those depicted ultimately broke free from their situation, Robbins' film makes an unassailable case that the education of girls is tied to a better, healthier society.
See Girl Rising at the Cleveland International Film Festival today at 1:50 p.m. For more information, visit clevelandfilm.org.