The animated film, produced by actress Angelina Jolie, tells the story of an 11-year-old girl named Parvana and her family, who are struggling to survive in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. She must pretend to be a boy so she can work to support her family. The film is an adaptation of a book by Canadian author Deborah Ellis.
While the movie has been released in the U.S. as well as Canada, China, France, the U.K. and some countries in the Middle East, it has yet to be screened in the few theaters across Afghanistan. But last month, a small group of Afghans had a chance to see the film at the Canadian embassy in Kabul.
For many of the Afghan viewers, it was a deeply emotional experience, bringing back memories of the time when the Taliban ruled, from the late 1990s to 2001. The regime imposed a strict interpretation of Islam and severely restricted women’s freedoms.
“After the movie was over and the lights were turned back on, I saw tears in the eyes of many Afghans. I couldn’t stop my own tears,” says Abdul Rahim Ahmad Parwani, deputy country director of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, an organization that supports education for Afghan women and girls. “There was a short uncalled-for silence at the end of the film. That itself explains how the movie connected with Afghans.”
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