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I watched this animated film, The Breadwinner, which follows the hardships and challenges of  an Afghan girl who dresses and acts as a boy to help her family survive without her Taliban-imprisoned father. It’s a gorgeous film that deserves much more attention than Coco or any other animated film of 2017. Even though set in the dusty, violent, and repressive city of Kabul, the film’s depictions of family sacrifice warm the heart in the midst of the terror and nonsensical violence. The depth of the story is matched by the awesome colorful art that allows us to view such tragedy from the remove of a cartoon and the innocent perspective of a child. Intermingled within the story is another folk tale of a boy who stands up to a dangerous Elephant King, the story of which is also depicted in a playful claymation-like animation.

I don’t have the capacity now to reflect deeply on this short film, but I just wanted to write it down to remember it. Perhaps one day I’ll buy the film and show it to my students or give it to my Afghan kids.


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