“The Breadwinner” Director Nora Twomey | Photo by Ste Murray

Hit play below to listen to our extended Arts Alive feature with Nora Twomey discussing The Breadwinner.

The Breadwinner is a family movie you don’t see every day. It follows a young girl named Parvana, who lives in Afghanistan under the shadow of the Taliban. When her father is unfairly arrested, she chops her hair off and takes care of her family the only way she can under her circumstances: as a boy.

Scenes from “The Breadwinner”

Based on the 2000 children’s novel by Deborah Ellis, the film doesn’t shy away from the repression and violence that women have often faced in Afghanistan, but it isn’t a torturous slog either. That’s thanks to startlingly colorful animation, a charming voice cast of mostly Afghan descent, and an uplifting and beautiful heart at the center.

It was made by the Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon, who also made the Oscar-nominated Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells. They’re the little studio that could, facing off against juggernauts like Pixar, Disney, and DreamWorks Animation—telling nuanced stories with deep themes in an ocean full of Minions and fart jokes. The film was executive produced by Angelina Jolie, and directed by Nora Twomey in her solo directing debut. In this interview, Twomey discusses why she wanted to tell the story of Parvana, why it looks the way it does, and why she didn’t shy away from some serious and heartbreaking realities of our world. To listen to the conversation, hit play on the audio player at top of this blog post.

The Breadwinner, directed by Nora Twomey, is available on Blu-ray and DVD on March 6th. Watch it compete at the Oscars on March 8th.

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