THE BREADWINNER - Tuesday 5th February 7.30pm at St Mary's
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The Breadwinner
Director Nora Twomey
Starring Saara Chaudry, Soma Chhaya, Laara Sadiq
Cert 12A


Kabul 2001. After her father is carted away by the Taliban, 11-year-old Parvana (Choudry) is forced to cut her hair and dress as a boy to earn a living to keep her family afloat. She finds sustenance in both new friend Shauzia (Soma Chhaya) and the stories she spins as she vows to track down her imprisoned father.


If 2018 Oscar nominee The Boss Baby stands at one end of the animation spectrum, then 2018 Oscar nominee The Breadwinner is its polar opposite. If the former is formulaic, gaudy and manufactured, the latter is sublime, magical and from the heart. Based on Deborah Ellis’ 2000 novel, Nora Twomey’s film combines the simple street poetry of Bicycle Thieves and the flights of fantasy of Guillermo del Toro into something all of its own. It’s the latest from Irish animation geniuses Cartoon Saloon who, on the strength of The Secret Of Kells, Song Of The Sea and now this, deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Pixar, Laika and Ghibli. One day the Academy will realise this too.

The main thread of the film details the day-to-day struggles of Parvana, a young girl in a world where women can’t be out in public without a man. With her father incarcerated for talking back to the Taliban, the now all-female family has no means of buying food so gets resourceful: Parvana cuts her hair, dons her deceased brother’s clothes and makes her way through a tough world. Time and again the director finds a telling image to nail an emotion — the peeling of an apple becomes incredibly moving — and etches a complex milieu in economic strokes: Afghanistan’s history of being invaded is perfectly conveyed in a bravura montage of Alexander The Great, Genghis Khan and the Soviets. All this is delivered in a lush visual style with hand-drawn characters covered in a digital gloss (via a program called TVPaint) playing against almost photo-real backdrops that encapsulate the film’s dynamic between reality and fantasy.
For, as much as it is about everyday politics,The Breadwinner is also a film about the power of storytelling as a balm for everyday hardships. To enchant her young brother, Parvana tells him fantastical tales about a young boy going up against an Elephant King with spiked tusks to save his village. If these stories dissipate the narrative urgency of Parvana’s tale, you won’t mind because they are things of such beauty in their own right: gorgeous pieces of seemingly paper cut-out animation — think a high end Captain Pugwash — that are rendered in deep, rich colours and often in stunning symmetrical patterns. At the end two story strands collide, but Twomey has the common sense not to tie things up too neatly. Years of political/female oppression are not overturned in a night.

It’s not a perfect film — it gets bogged down in cycling through similar kinds of scenes — but Twomey gets so much right that you can forgive it tiny flaws. It’s a rare perfect marriage of material and medium. In live action, The Breadwinner might have been too heart-breaking to bear. As it is, like cinema at its best, it is moving and magical in equal measures.

A rare animated film without a shred of sentimentality but bucket-loads of heart and soul. “Stories remain in our hearts all our lives,” Parvana’s father tells her. The Breadwinner is testament to that.

Ian Freer


We apologise for the technical issues with the showing of The Square on 22nd January. The discs are tested beforehand and played fine. We have since upgraded our blu-ray player to the latest model. 

Completing The Square...

We've decided that we'll show the final half hour of the film straight AFTER our screening of The Breadwinner on Tuesday 19th February. We'll have a short intermission to allow those who don't want to stay to leave and we'll do a short recap.

And all our Guests who paid to come to see The Square will get in free!

Social Night - Last Few Tickets Left!

Our fabulous Social Night will be on Saturday 9th February - a night of films, food, quizzes and prizes!

Tickets are now available for our forthcoming Social Evening.  This will take place on Saturday 9th February at St Mary's Creative Space, starting at 7.30pm. This event is open to all, not just members of the Film Society. Invite your friends along!  The evening includes our famous wall quiz, raffle, caption competition and audio quiz.  Some great prizes to be won!

Throughout the evening a selection of short films will be shown for your entertainment.

Food is included in the price, and  will comprise a variety of curries (including vegetarian option), along with a sweet.  Soft drink will also be available free of charge.

Tickets are just £12. Either buy from one of the films or online by clicking the Link below.



Direct link to buy here

Chester International Film Festival 2019

We are delighted to announce the 2019 international film festival, taking place between 9 and 20 March 2019.

We are delighted to offer a contemporary collection of the best in world cinema, in the comfortable and friendly atmosphere of Chester Storyhouse.

After it’s outstanding launch in 2014, we will again be hosting our 6th Animation Festival alongside the 2019 Festival.  We will show the best in international animations following a call for submissions.

Also worth noting is a special discount code. Enter the promotion code CHESTERFS when booking online or at a kiosk, or quote “Chester Film Society” when booking in person at Storyhouse, and your ticket price will be £5 only!

Please visit for the festival website. We look forward to seeing you at the festival!

Copyright © 2019 Chester Film Society, All rights reserved.

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