The Breadwinner

By the director of The Secret Of Kells

The Breadwinner, directed by Nora Twomey (The Secret Of Kells) and with Angelina Jolie as executive producer, is a beautifully rendered work of animation that tells a powerful story. 

Poster for the animated drama The BreadwinnerSet in Kabul under Taliban rule, the film paints a powerful picture of a vibrant culture and people under stifling repression; at heart, it is a beautiful but troubling look at a people’s fight to survive.

The lead character is Parvana, a preteen girl who accompanies her father to the market in an attempt to make enough money to feed the family. She draws the attention of a Taliban soldier because she’s approaching the age when women should be completely covered (or should preferably stay indoors), while her father is under suspicion because he’s a former teacher who still respects literature.

The father ends up in jail; her mother can’t safely appear in public without her husband; and Parvana finds the only way to support the family is to cut her hair, dress as a boy and find work.

Crucially for the story and the film, Parvana is also a storyteller, weaving a tale to keep her little brother happy and to help herself and her family through a series of dangerous encounters.

These sequences bring a deliberately subdued film to life, and pay tribute to the force of storytelling and of tradition that can be outlawed but can’t be quashed. And in the film’s spectacular final sequences, when the story Parvana is telling meshes with the one she is living, The Breadwinner is a glorious demonstration of the power of myth to deal with brutal reality, and the power of truth to animate myth.

– Steve Pond, The Wrap
 

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