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Malala and Jennifer Lawrence take on the Taliban in new documentary ‘Bread & Roses’

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Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence have joined forces to produce a new documentary film about the abuse of women in Afghanistan.

Lawrence is co-producing a documentary titled Bread & Roses alongside Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

This documentary sheds light on the oppression faced by Afghan women under Taliban rule following the withdrawal of US troops in 2021.

The idea to make Bread & Roses came to Lawrence three years ago when she was devastated by news reports about the difficult situation of Afghan women.

Concerned that their struggles might be forgotten, she felt compelled to take action. She asked, “What do leaders mean when they say they’re committed to gender equality when they don’t take action to protect women’s rights?”

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Lawrence reached out to Afghan filmmaker Sahra Mani to direct the documentary, despite facing resistance from some in her life. “It’s scary and it is overwhelming, but the scariest possible outcome is ignoring it and pretending like it’s not happening,” she said.

The documentary focuses on the stories of three women: Sharifa, Zahra, and Taranom. Sharifa is confined at home due to new laws enforced by the Taliban, while Zahra’s activism gets her in jail. Taranom seeks shelter in Pakistan, grieving the loss of her homeland.

The film explores the loneliness and resilience of these women in the face of oppression through their experiences.

Lawrence said, “Storytelling is the soul of any activism. Hopefully, this movie, made by Afghan women, through their perspective of this moment, will mean it’s not just a flash of a story in a pan. It is a resistance happening right now. These women need the world to witness this so that they are not suffering in vain, and we need to pressure our governments to hold the Taliban accountable.”

Malala added, “It is a reality that breaks your heart. Why is there silence? Why is there inaction? Activists and storytellers cannot spend too much time thinking about it.”

She added, “I think it’s the job of the people to hold their leaders to account and put more pressure on them. So I hope that people will begin to question their representatives and ask them what they have been doing. What do they mean when they say they’re committed to gender equality – those nice fancy words – when they don’t take any action to protect women’s rights and girls’ education in Afghanistan?”

Bread & Roses is slated to premiere on Apple TV+ and in cinemas on June 21, 2024.

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