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Hot Docs 2016 Review: “Urmila: My Memory Is My Power” (2016) ★★★★


Somebody once said, “one needs to be sacrificed in order for many to be saved”. I don’t know where Urmila Chaudhary would be if not for what happened to her when she was a little child. She was sold into slavery when she was just six years old. Many years she had to spend in constant abuse that could have broken any strong human being. However, she finds her way back to stand tall and fight for other girls who are still in slavery…

Nepal may not be one of the poorest countries in the world, but holds 30s in ranking which already should alarm the western world. Susan Gluth makes her trip to Nepal to capture the story of one of the bravest girls, named Urmila, who now has made the mission of her life to help other girls to get a free life. Yes, it’s the parents who sell their own children into slavery that leaves children with no choice for a future. So someone must speak up and tell: “enough is enough”.

Urmila says in one of her interviews that “My struggle is my strength”. A struggle that she was able to turn into advantage for her. When she realizes that she may get a chance to contribute to society and rescue many children from slavery, she does what it takes in order to continue her battle against a corrupted government. One of the most impressive scene I found was when she had to stop the bus in order to free a little girl that was sold by her uncle.

Urmila also has a dream to change the government from inside by becoming a lawyer. Again, getting back to the point when I started writing my review, that sometimes certain things happen for a reason. In case of Urmila, many children of Nepal got very lucky to get someone like her beside them and that won’t stop until she frees the last child from slavery.

It’s not easy to review this film as it touches a certain aspect of society that may turn my review into politics. But the endless power of this film is that it really makes you feel angry, but in the meantime, proud, that it is able to show something that many of us who live in cozy houses must see. As this film is scheduled to be screened as part of Canada’s International Documentary Film Festival Hotdocs, and you happen to be in Toronto, make your way to the theater and admire the story of one of the most courageous and smart human beings. Because when you do good things to someone, it’s better to do it the way Urmila Chaudhary does. Because sometimes it’s not money, but attention and immediate actions that solve the crucial problem.

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