DVD: The Breadwinner
Both sugared pill and Trojan horse, animation has proved a handy medium for cinema to deal with often difficult and sensitive subject matter, in unreachable or impractical locations. ‘Persepolis’, Marjane Satrapi’s 2007 adaptation of her graphic novel about growing up in post-revolutionary Iran arguably set the ball rolling. This October, the rotoscope animated ‘Tehran Taboo’, a picture that probes sex, drugs and hypocrisy in contemporary Iran, continues the trend. Undoubtedly one of the boldest efforts to date is the Afghanistan-set ‘The Breadwinner’, released earlier this year.
Adapted from Deborah Ellis’ bestselling novel, it tells the story of Parvana, an eleven-year-old girl living under Taliban rule in 2001 Afghanistan. When her father is wrongfully arrested, leaving the family desperate for money, Parvana disguises herself as a boy in order to get a job to support them. Mindful of the danger, she draws strength recalling the stories taken from local mythology and history that her father used to tell her. Eventually she summons the courage to try and locate him.
Kilkenny-based studio Cartoon Saloon, the team behind last year’s ‘The Secret of Kells’ and ‘Song of the Sea’ deploy some stunning visuals to tell Parvna’s story, from comparatively realistic animation in the everyday scenes, to hallucinatory, beautifully-rendered sequences featuring cut-outs to illustrate Parvana’s father’s stories. No worthy lesson, this is a genuinely exciting tale that also serves as a tribute to the resilience of children and the power of storytelling, which will appeal to kids and adults alike.
Extras include a behind the scenes featurette and an introduction from director Norah Twomey and executive producer Angelina Jolie.
The Breadwinner is out on DVD and Blu-ray on 24 September and available for download now.