In the 1990s, Deborah Ellis travelled to Afghanistan to interview women and children living under the Taliban regime, during which time she learned about girls who disguised themselves as boys in order to be allowed out in public, as women are not permitted to leave the house without an escort. The girls would take this risk in order to provide for their families. These stories inspired her novel The Breadwinner, which has recently been made into a film by the studio responsible for the much-lauded Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea.
“I’m not an organizer. I’m not a good fundraiser,” Ellis told CBS News, “but I thought if I could go over there, collect some of their stories and find out who they are — how they deal with all of this, what they were living through, how they were reacting to it — that that might be useful.”
Ellis first published the non-fiction book Women of the Afghan War before writing her YA novel about a girl named Parvana (voiced in the film by Saara Chaudry) who dresses up as a boy in order to provide for her mother and sisters after her father is imprisoned by the Taliban. The Breadwinner was published in 2002, and since then has helped to raise close to $2 million for a charity aimed at supporting education for Afghani women and children called Parvana’s Fund.
Angelina Jolie, Nora Twomey, and Saara Chaudry at the Toronto Film Festival | Image Via CBC
Now, Nora Twomey of Cartoon Saloon, who worked on both Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, has made her solo directorial debut with an adaptation of The Breadwinner, produced by Angelina Jolie, and it has been garnering stellar reviews. Earlier this month, Variety said:
The Breadwinner is by no means a simple-minded kidpic; rather, it directly confronts the misogyny and chauvinism of contemporary Afghanistan, while powerfully suggesting that storytelling is both a means of coping and a solution for change… The Breadwinner proves nothing short of exceptional, celebrating as it does a young woman who faces adversity head-on — and who relies on her own creativity, both as a storyteller and in practical situations, to adapt to whatever obstacles she faces.
The film is by all accounts a triumph, made by women for women in order to empower them while also shedding light on the plight of families living in war-torn countries. Watch the trailer below!
Featured Image Via Yahoo and The Hollywood Reporter