This past weekend I spent about two hours hunting for something to watch when I finally settled for an animated movie called "The Breadwinner." And boy, that was a rollercoaster ride. I can say that it's the most accurate depiction I have seen so far of a war-ravaged world.
The story is set in Afghanistan in a city overrun by the Taliban. It opens up with a young girl named Parvana who is seen selling a few articles of clothing with her father in a busy market. Parvana longingly stares at a handmade red dress on sale that she adores, but as her father justifies, there's no need for such items in their world. There's a fine line that must be drawn between necessities and wants, even for a child deprived of childhood too soon. Even simple dialogue such as "Anything written. Anything read," gives the viewer an insight into this dystopia. Something as basic as knowledge and literacy is highly valuable and assigned a price. It is also brought to the viewer's attention that no seller in the market can serve anything to a woman unless she is accompanied by a male from the household.
Parvana's father is arrested after being accused of unlawfully teaching the women in his house. Without any other older male figure in the house, Parvana disguises herself as a boy to provide for her family and to find a means to rescue her father. She uses her imagination to make up stories that give herself and her remaining family courage to part on this journey she has decided to embark on.
Even despite these few words I have summed up, the story cannot be merely summarized because missing any detail would unrightfully deprive the movie of its intricate story. The viewer is drawn in to realize the value of meager things that are basic to their lives, but for Parvana's world, those things are nothing short of a fantasy.
Something as simple as choosing the main character's name was involved in the story-making process as far as I can tell. "Parvana" is a name which means "butterfly." One can see how young Parvana transforms from a caterpillar into a butterfly by the end of the film.