Jennifer Lawrence brings documentary about Afghan women to Cannes

Tom Ambrose

The Guardian

Sun 21 May 2023 18.57 EDT

Bread and Roses, co-produced by Lawrence, documents lives of three women after Taliban’s return to power

A documentary about the lives of three women living under the Taliban, co-produced by Jennifer Lawrence, has premiered at the Cannes film festival.

Bread and Roses, shown at a special screening on Sunday, follows three Afghan women in the weeks after the Taliban’s return to power in 2021 after the withdrawal of US troops.

The documentary was made by Excellent Cadaver, a production company set up by Lawrence and her producer friend Justine Ciarrocchi.

“Jen’s first response was to find an Afghan film-maker and give them a platform,” Ciarrocchi told the Hollywood Reporter.

Directed by Sahra Mani, whose 2018 documentary A Thousand Girls Like Me looked at a sexually abused woman’s quest for justice, the film aimed to show how the lives of women changed overnight under Taliban rule.

“This film has a message from women in Afghanistan, a soft message: please be their voice who are voiceless under Taliban dictatorship,” said Mani at the premiere.

She added: “Now that women can no longer leave the house without the veil, I thought we should tell their stories.”

While the featured women did not know each other, they are all are from different groups who protested against the Taliban coup.

In an interview on the Cannes website, Mani – now living in France – said filming the documentary was difficult and the safety of those involved was a top priority.

“The way in which their lives have changed under the Taliban is an everyday reality for us,” she added. “It’s life under a dictatorship, a cruel reality we cannot ignore.”


Jennifer Lawrence brings documentary about Afghan women to Cannes