Bangladesh – Surfing against oppression | DW Documentary

In the southeast of Bangladesh lies the popular seaside resort of Cox’s Bazar. Its beach is over 120 kilometers long — one of the longest in the world. In the huge neighboring slum, two young girls dream of joining the local surf club.

Their lives are marked by poverty and violence. But surfing lets them dream of freedom. The Canadian filmmaker Elizabeth D’ Costa accompanied the two girls for three years, on their surf journey. The film conveys the joy the protagonists feel, surfing on a sunny day. And it provides insight into the complex problems they face: poverty, gender discrimination, a patriarchal society shaped by tradition. These daunting challenges, however, only strengthen the four girls’ resolve to take their fates into their own hands.

Rashed Alam, the founder of the surf club, supports the young surf pioneers to the best of his ability: he tries to enable them to participate in competitions and to find sponsors for the club. The documentary shows the girls growing up over the course of the three years of filming and how they do not let themselves be discouraged by constant conflicts with parents or neighbors. It becomes clear that a sport like surfing has the potential to change the lives of an entire generation of young women in Bangladesh.

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