Backed by The Hunger Games star, the film was secretly filmed in the Taliban-ruled nation
Jennifer Lawrence with the team of Bread and Roses; (image credit: Instagram/@festivaldecannes)
Well no longer a secret, but Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence has been privately working on a documentary, titled Bread and Roses, that delves deeper into the lives of three women in Afghanistan, shedding light on their day-to-day activities in the Taliban-ruled nation.
Premiered at the 2023 Cannes film festival, the film is produced by Excellent Cadaver, a company that Jennifer runs along with her friend Justine Ciarrocchi. Mostly filmed in a covert manner, Bread and Roses includes footage where they show the women cooped up at a windowless basement in Kabul, where they are trying to learn something. It is said that the documentary also shows a woman speaking back to the Taliban soldiers, which was shot on her mobile phone.
After the government of Afghanistan collapsed in 2021, the Taliban seized the reins of the nation. Thereafter, they enforced a strict religious rule across the country, which included depriving women and girls of education. While most schools and universities banned female students, many revolted against the new norm and tried to set up underground schools.
While speaking with BBC, Jennifer said, “My heart was beating so fast watching these women defy the Taliban. You don’t see this side of the story, women fighting back, in the news every day and it’s an important part of our film, and the stories of these women. They currently have no autonomy within their country. It is so important for them to be given the opportunity to document their own story, in their own way.”
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According to The Hunger Games star, the documentary was “born out of emotion and necessity”. Jennifer said that she was feeling helpless and frustrated about what she was seeing on the news. Adding to that, Justine told BBC that the actress had a “seismic reaction to the fall of Kabul in 2021, because the circumstances were so dire for women”, and she said that they “got to give somebody a platform to tell this story in a meaningful way”. The duo eventually collaborated with independent documentary-maker from Kabul, Sahra Mani. She runs a production company, called Afghan Doc House.