While the world watched Kabul fall and the Taliban surge back to power in 2021 following the withdrawal of U.S. troops, actor Jennifer Lawrence and producer Justine Ciarrocchi were asking themselves what they could do to support women's rights.
“Jen’s first response was to find an Afghan filmmaker and give them a platform,” Ciarrocchi told The Hollywood Reporter. They eventually found director Sahra Mani, whose 2019 documentary A Thousand Girls Like Me looked at a sexually abused woman’s quest for justice.
On Sunday, Bread and Roses, Mani’s documentary about the daily lives of three women after the Taliban’s resurgence, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in a special screening. “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.
The director said in an interview on the Cannes website that she wanted to show the reality of how drastically life has changed under the Taliban for women, even if filming was difficult. “Now that women can no longer leave the house without the veil, I thought we should tell their stories,” she said.
The safety of the camera crews and the people filmed was of top priority, said Mani, who currently lives in France. “The way in which their lives have changed under the Taliban is an everyday reality for us, it’s life under a dictatorship, a cruel reality we cannot ignore.”