Jennifer Lawrence Debuts Afghan Documentary “Bread and Roses” At Cannes 2023

Emma Hodgson   |   22-05-2023

Nearly two years ago on 15 August 2021, the lives of women in Afghanistan changed over night.

 On that late summer day, the Taliban took control of the capital city, Kabul, and with it removed the rights of women to work in public office and the judiciary, closed a large number of schools, banned women from working in many fields and from entering many public spaces, such as amusement parks and gyms. 

“All over the country, women report feeling invisible, isolated, suffocated, living in prison-like conditions,” said a recent UN report on the situation in Afghanistan. 

It’s the dire situation on the ground for women across the country, which led Oscar-winning actress and producer Jennifer Lawrence to seek out female Afghan critically acclaimed documentary maker Sahra Mani, to develop a film project which looked at the lives of women in the country. 

The result was “Bread and Roses”, a documentary which follows three Afghan women and their experience in the country following the events of 2021. The project was funded by Excellent Cadaver, the production company co-owned by Lawrence and fellow producer and friend Jusine Ciarrocchi.  “This documentary was born out of emotion and necessity,” Lawrence told the BBC. “They currently have no autonomy within their country. It is so important for them to be given the opportunity to document their own story, in their own way.”

Mani is no stranger to pushing boundaries with her work, prior to the project she created the documentary “A Thousand Girls Like Me”, a film which tells the story of a 23-year-old Afghan woman, who goes on national TV to expose the abuse she has suffered from her father, after the police and her family ignored her pleas for help. 

Lawrence and Ciarrocchi are hopeful that the film will receive worldwide distribution. All women featured in the documentary are now safely out of Afghanistan.