Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

The Breadwinner

the-breadwinner-movie-poster-2017

 The Breadwinner

Afghanistan. The Taliban. A youthful female protagonist, gender-bending for the sake of her family's survival. The Breadwinner is a hypnotic, enchanting animation that has, at its core, the tensest of dynamics, sometimes re-calibrated with kaleidoscopic colours and emotions. Mixing brutal realities with recurring fairy-tale frame narratives, it can be placed alongside Pan's Labyrinth (2006), Timbuktu (2014), Persepolis (2007) and "The Arabian Nights" as a fusion of fantasy with a mode of patriarchy taken to its cruellest, most obscene conclusions, as legitimized through militant religion.

The story follows a young Afghan girl, Parvana, whose father is dragged away by a Taliban equivalent of the religious police for defending her honour. Already we see how religion is twisted by these marauding, all-male militias, who inflict physical beatings on any whom they deign to be challenging their authority.

Soon enough, and with the only male figure of the family having been dragged away, Parvana makes a choice to support her mother, sister and baby brother: she cuts her hair short, and adopts the identity of a boy, 'Aatish' (meaning 'fire'). In this disguise, she befriends another girl, Shauzia, who has similarly adopted a male disguise to enjoy the sensation of walking the streets without harassment, and of course earn a living.

Haunting music and visuals are important qualities of the film, and allow us to transcend the day to day barbarities inflicted on the female characters in particular: the richest colours of teal and magenta, ocean blue and aquamarine, illuminate the cinema screen, as Parvana narrates one particular fairy tale for different characters. At the film's end, we learn how the tale carries its own cathartic value for Parvana, in processing the death of her brother. Simultaneously, we discover whether she has succeeded in re-joining the incarcerated father with the family.

For the colours and styles, and the two large oval eyes of Parvana that shine forth from the screen, I would say that to watch The Breadwinner is less a cinematic experience than the opening of a chest of fabulous jewels. I thought it was beautiful.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Solo: A Star Wars Story
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Guest
Monday, 17 December 2018

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

December 09, 2018

Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines If the anime films of Studio Ghibli and writer/artist Hayao Miyazaki were to be turned into live action movies, they would look like this. Steam punk machines, whirring aircraft and zeppelins, with utopian valleys and dystopian wastelands sharing screen time, reminding us of how one can turn into the other through the rapacious consu...
Creed 2
December 08, 2018

Creed 2

December 08, 2018

Creed 2

Creed 2 I remember Rocky IV in the mid-1980s, at the peak of Reagan's (and Donald Trump's) America. It's a film so mesmerizingly patriotic to American exceptionalism, the boxer 'Italian Stallion' Rocky Balboa as the plucky underdog, avenging the brutal death of his friend Apollo Creed by taking on the steroid-abusing giant who killed said friend in...
December 04, 2018

Transgender milestone (#5): visiting a foreign country

It means nothing to me This means nothing to me Oh, Vienna (' Vienna ' by Ultravox) It's up there with your first full day as an out trans female, with the admin changes, your first job and that conversation with your family. I went to Vienna this weekend to a conference, my first time out of the country with my passport grasped at my tender bosom,...
Widows
November 25, 2018

Widows

November 25, 2018

Widows

Widows A taut, stylish heist movie spotlighting destinies of gender and race in the U.S., Widows is the kind of movie I'd forgotten they still make for adults. Contrasted with multiverse fantasies like Crimes of Grindelwald , Widows is proof you can have several characters as vivid, substantial, and delicately drawn, while the action and the tensio...
November 18, 2018

The Crimes of Grindelwald

The Crimes of Grindelwald A curious film, one to categorize under 'part of a series' than self-contained. But you sit down to these 'multiverse' sagas from Marvel and Warner Bros. (et al) expecting the cliff-hanger concept that really belongs to TV shows. With this expectation, I entered the dark cinema an intrepid explorer like Eddie Redmayne's Ne...
November 09, 2018

Gifted Transgender Writers: Jamie Berrout

in Books

Portland Diary by Jamie Berrout I never use to read short stories, but I'm glad I found Portland Diary: Short Stories 2016 / 2017 by Jamie Berrout. As a transgender woman of colour, Berrout is able to go beyond the clichés of isolation and domesticity of cisgender appropriations (David Ebershoff's nauseating The Danish Girl , for example), but also...
November 03, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody It's received so-so reviews, a biopic imbued with a trashy, karaoke lack of quality. But I quite like Bohemian Rhapsody . The star turn by Rami Malek as the iconic Freddie Mercury is on the nose, projecting talent, swagger and vulnerability. His loneliness as his marriage ends is poignant, with the other band members settling down...
October 28, 2018

San Francisco Forty-Something

San Francisco Forty-Something San Francisco, my city. I have never been there. I met a San Franciscan last Friday in a bar, like a Catholic meeting the Pope; or a younger version of me discovering you've been to Disney World in Florida. We sit there, two forty-something cis and trans. I hang on the person's every snippet of daily existence, ad...
Venom
October 21, 2018

Venom

October 21, 2018

Venom

The trailer for this film was not encouraging: Tom Hardy becoming host to a slimy parasitic alien of fangs and giant tongue, with blank membrane eyes. The hero turned into unsettling CGI nightmare: is this really what I wanted for my hero? After the event, I can say that the film is better than the trailer, and progressively has its giant, sli...