Marlow based Firefly Events recently launched Marlow Film Club with Oscar-Nominated Animation ‘The Breadwinner’, and patrons were treated to an immersive experience which left a lasting impression and plenty to think about.
A trail of twinkling glass jars led us through the grounds and into Sir William Borlase’s purpose-built theatre. There we were greeted with the heady scent of the Indian cuisine that was being served up by Spicy Girls Marlow to those who had pre-ordered, and the bar beckoned with IPA, prosecco and soft drinks plus posh popcorn and snacks.
The evening was ably opened by guest speaker Shukria Rezaei; a formidable young woman whose story of life under – and away from – Taliban rule she has translated into spellbinding poems. We were transported into her world as she recited, sharing the colours, textures, tastes and sounds with us and plunging us into her memories and emotions.
The film itself is a beautifully animated tale of a family surviving in modern-day Taliban-ruled Kabul, Afghanistan’s war-torn capital. Our hero is Parvana, eleven years old and daughter of a teacher and a writer. We are taken on a journey from her perspective as she fights to survive and keep her family together through terrifying and sobering events that no child should have to deal with. But it is the grit, humour and dogged determination that carries her through her adventure; whilst some whimsical folklore stories are woven through the film, adding colour and light to a heart-wrenching ninety minutes. The voice actors behind the characters – particularly Saara Chaudry (Parvana) and Soma Bhatia who plays best friend Shauzia – are superb. That Angelina Jolie is an executive producer is unsurprising (she is Special Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and a prolific humanitarian and philanthropist) and just adds a touch of Hollywood!
The Breadwinner is rated 12A, and it was great to see several youngsters at the event with their families. Whilst the film’s themes are challenging, and some scenes hard-hitting, there is so much to absorb and digest that it is a wonderful way to introduce young people to the realities other people face across the world.
Congratulations to the Firefly team – we thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and look forward to future presentations!