The Breadwinner

Certificate 12A

(2017) 94 mins

Director: Nora Twomey
Writers: Anita Doron, Deborah Ellis
Art Direction: Ciaran Duffy, Reza Riahi
Music: Jeff Danna, Mychael Danna


From the studio that gave us the exquisite animations The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea comes The Breadwinner: a wonderful tale of female empowerment and imagination in the face of oppression – celebrating the culture, history and beauty of Afghanistan.

Eleven-year-old Parvana lives with her family in one room of a tiny apartment building in war-torn Kabul, Afghanistan. Living under Taliban rule, Parvana grows up listening to stories told by her father while helping him in the marketplace where he reads and writes letters for people to earn a living.  One day, her father is arrested, and Parvana’s life is changed forever. In a time and place where women are not allowed to leave home without men, her family is left without someone who can earn money or even shop for food.  To help her family, Parvana decides to cut her hair and disguise herself as a boy, turning herself into the breadwinner for the family. And though she is in danger of being discovered, Parvana resolves to find a way to rescue her father.

For more information, including a full cast list and reviews, go to:

Showings of this film are part of our Cinematheque season which is supported by the British Film Institute.


“Intelligent, humane and multi-layered, The Breadwinner is a much more substantial film than its central heroic narrative might suggest. It’s a fitting tribute to the courage of the girls who saved countless lives but it also speaks to the depth an richness of Afghan culture, ensuring that foreign viewers cannot write off its characters as the primitives frequently depicted in propaganda about the region. More than just a cypher, Parvana is an emotionally complex heroine whom children and teenagers will find easy to identify with. The result is a moving film with lasting value.”     Eye for Film

Mychael and Jeff Danna’s music is lyrical and expressive, blending eastern instruments with western orchestrations as it moves from pieces echoing the street sounds of Kabul to the more expansive evocations of the enchanted story-world. A thrilling climax brings together all the threads that weave through this terrific movie. Executive producer Angelina Jolie’s name has star power, but it’s the self-effacing Twomey, making her solo directorial feature debut, who is the real heroine of this wonderful film.”  The Guardian

“The Breadwinner may suffer from the suspicion that it looks “good for you”. It is certainly morally sound and socially responsible. But it also remembers to have fun. Stories really do serve many purposes.”  The Irish Times

Mon 14 Jan Beer


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