Hot Docs 2016 Review: “What Tomorrow Brings” (2016) ★★★★


Tomorrow can bring you a successful life if you get enough education today. But what if in some part of the world education is forbidden for those who have no right to build their bright future? This touching, profound and important film, “What Tomorrow Brings” directed by Beth Murphy opens up an issue that happened in Afghanistan, where a matter of getting married to a 70-year-old man for a young woman is more important than getting education.

In a remote village of Afghanistan, Razja Jan opens an all-female school for women to help them build a better future for themselves. While she sees education as a crucial key and opportunity to become more independent, gain an ability of understanding and be able to be needed to their country, it’s a man who decides whether those women should get an education or not.

However, a brave woman manages to bring spirit into the life of those girls that eventually find themselves happier in the school than in their own home. As the story unfolds, you will find out about the influences of Taliban to international government forces, where they claim that according to religion a woman should never get a leadership role in society, and that, forbidding them from going to school is what might help them to fulfil the law.

But as you watch the film, you see how the progressive vision, remarkable approach of one woman changes the life of the village as a whole. Beth Murphy not only takes her camera inside the school, but shoots the scene where Razja drinks a water to ensure that it’s not poisoned. This unintentional but a required attempt shows the great danger education can bring to a patriarchal society where women are not allowed to open a book.

The story or 16-year-old Rihalla and her teacher, Pashtana will melt your heart, while in the end you may find yourself simply crying for joy of knowing that as long as we have people like Rihalla, Razja or Pashtana, there is still hope for a better tomorrow. You will also hear many times throughout film the uncertainty of tomorrow and what it may bring. But one thing is always clear in Murphy’s film, that strong determination, willingness, strong desire and optimism can make you to face a fact that you will no longer be needing to ask what tomorrow brings but will build on your own once you get a right amount of education.

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