Documentarian Sahra Mani’s “Bread & Roses”, produced by Jennifer Lawrence’s Excellent Cadaver, has brought up the horrors that are being heaped upon women in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
“Bread & Roses”, which premiered in the Special Screenings section of the 76th Cannes Film Festival, pieces together stories of Afghan women fighting for freedom, education and employment at grave risk to their lives. It is composed of found footage and videos shot in secrecy in Afghanistan, often by women themselves. “The primary purpose of my film,” says Mani, “is to amplify the voice of women activists in Afghanistan… We want to tell the world about their situation. As we set out to make the film, we searched for women who were happy to be in it. Many volunteered,” says Mani. “They are surviving against the odds.
Life is tough but these women are incredibly brave,” she adds. She mentions how her film cannot show even a fraction of what is going on in Afghanistan and it can capture only a small part of the reality. Lawrence was on the stage to present the film along with Mani and Dr Zahra Mohammadi, who features prominently in the film and represents all educated and gifted Afghan women who have been stopped from working and forced to stay confined within their homes.
The film was completed just ahead of the Cannes Film Festival. “We sent the link to the festival at the very last minute and explained why we were late. I was really happy when I learnt that the film had been accepted,” says Mani.