The Breadwinner (12a)

Oct 03, 2018
Cranbrook Film Society

Parvana is young girl living in Kabul in 2001. After the unjust arrest of her father she takes on the responsibility for her family. The wretched treatment of women by the Taliban and the impact of war on children are tackled in this powerful animated jewel of a film.

Nora Twomey | Ireland/Canada/Luxembourg | 2017 | 93 mins | 12A


Film quote – “Stories remain in our hearts all of our lives.”

This is a thoughtful and deceptively simple animation that tells the story of a family living in Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban. The unpalatable truths it reveals would be difficult to portray in any other medium. Somehow this tale of a courageous and inventive young girl, Parvana, is uplifting and leaves us with a feeling of optimism. We see life through Parvana’s eyes, her innocence and naivety shine through and enable us to understand that there can be joy and interest in the worst of times, as long as we have stories to distract us. Parvana’s father was a great storyteller and passed this ability to his daughter. The stories they both weave throughout the plot enliven and enchant and add colour to a grim reality. Everyday scenes are presented in muted tones that allow the plot to unfold uncluttered and lucid. The narrated stories are vivid paperc-uts set against near photo realistic backgrounds that are vibrant and sing out hope to us. Visually this film is stunning. Harsh Afghan landscapes are stunningly beautiful despite their being littered with land mines and abandoned tanks – mostly because of intelligent use of light. The main story is gripping and thought provoking. The interwoven stories are fragments of Afghan myths and legends that remind us of that country’s rich cultural heritage and provide relief from the injustice we see.

Nora Twomey directed the film. She is a founder of Cartoon Salon, an idiosyncratic animation studio in Ireland. She was entranced by the book of the same name by Deborah Ellis, and was eager to expand its themes and turn it into a thoughtful and hard-hitting film. It is story for young people, but Nora believes they you should never talk down to children and never explain, so the film works for adults too. This work follows on from her previous acclaimed works, ‘The Secret of Kells’ and ‘Song of the Sea’. All three are amazing expressionist fairytales told with a strong emphasis on local legend. This animation house is one to watch.




            Weighted vote 91.03%