ANIMATED MOVIES: Girls dressed as boys in Kabul and Tehran’s underworld of sex, drugs and rave music are portrayed through the eyes of children in the animated movies The Breadwinner and Tehran Taboo.
During the last decade we have gained an insight into daily life in Muslim countries through cartoons and animated movies like Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical Persepolis, a graphic novel that was subsequently adapted for the screen in 2007 depicting a young girl’s adolescence in Iran, and the successful graphic novel The Arab of the Future, again an autobiographical coming-of-age story set in Gaddafi and Assad’s dictatorships.
The International Festival of Animated Films or Anifilm, held every year in the Czech town of Trebon, recently screened two newcomers in the genre: last year’s Oscar-nominated children’s movie The Breadwinner by Nora Twomey and Tehran Taboo, an animated movie for adults by Ali Soozandeh. Both films received much attention during last year’s Cannes film festival and were lavishly praised in Variety.
«The Breadwinner is an excellent introduction to understanding the situation in Afghanistan.»
These are animated movies of high quality both in terms of technical skill and content. Both films share a common trait in that the directors have chosen to tell dark stories about repression from the perspective of children. This provides us with a unique approach to – and empathy with – the main characters. Their dreams and yearnings resemble our own, though the circumstances the characters find themselves in are incomprehensible.
A unique aspect about coming-of-age stories told from the perspective of children is that the narrative voice seems both more honest and humorous.
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