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The Breadwinner

Nora Twomey

Just as Studio Ghibli has become synonymous with a certain beautiful style of quality visual storytelling, so has Cartoon Saloon, who have produced some of the most memorable feature length animations of the past decade. From the makers of Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea (both of which we are delighted to be revisiting) comes The Breadwinner, adapted from the much loved children’s novel by Deborah Ellis about a young girl who is forced to disguise herself as a boy to care for her family.

"a film you will never forget."

On the dusty streets of Afghanistan, Parvana, a spirited 11-year- old girl, helps her father, a former teacher who lost a leg in the Russian invasion, to mind the stall where he sells goods to passersby. Using her ability to read and write as a way to earn extra money for her family, Parvana is only allowed out in public by the Taliban regime because of her young age and because she is accompanied by a male family member, while her mother and older sister must remain at home with her toddler brother. When her father is picked up and imprisoned by the police on a pretext, young Parvana assumes the identity of a boy in order to go out in public on her own, finding food and trying to track down her beloved father.

Weaving traditional Afghan folk tales alongside a contemporary story of oppression, The Breadwinner sensitively tackles the difficult and at times harrowing subject of the impact of war. Director Nora Twomey brings her characters to life through stunning cel animation work, combining line, colour, music and deeply affecting voice work to create a film you will never forget.