kids movies

Parvana, a childhood in Afghanistan

9 years old

Parvana, a childhood in Afghanistan is a 2017 film. It mainly follows a young girl, but there may be four things happening at the same time to create tension. When stories are told in the movie, the animation has a new, more stylized look (a bit like a paper-cut effect).



We are shown the daily life of a family and especially of women in Afghanistan, in Kabul, when this city is under the control of the Taliban. We quickly explain the past. War. We see how this country can be armed, that there are curfews, moments of fear of planes in the sky.


We are shown the dangerousness of extremism in religion. If sympathetic Muslims are shown in the film, we can clearly see how they are the ones who suffer from aggressiveness, from harsh laws imposed by fanatics. Politics. Religion here becomes a political regime, rather shown as implacable.


We criticize a regime where people can’t be free, don’t have the right to education, end up with forbidden books, where you can’t have photos.


Importance of those who dare to position themselves differently in a totalitarian regime (here the father is criticized, because he dared to transmit knowledge to women, his little one knows how to read. He allows himself to possess books considered prohibited).

Gender equality

We are clearly shown how women can be abused by a religion that forces them to stay at home, that does not want them outside.

strength of the weak

A child can help (be it the little girl or the child in the story).

Initiatory journey

A child will have to learn to become an adult. The fate of her family rests on her. She no longer hesitates to sell her dress as at the beginning of the film, and frankly puts herself in danger to save her family. At the same time, we are told a tale with the classic need to obtain objects that we receive after having helped people (which will also be the case for Parvana). Perseverance. Despite the difficulties, do not give up.


We are shown the relationships in a family by creating a problem that a little girl will have to support her parents. Protection. We can see that the mother is trying to do something, but in the end no one will be able to support the children. We see this mother trying to protect her daughter, but she does not have enough strength. Siblings. We see how two sisters can bicker, we see how we can take care of a little brother.

Story told

A people who have always been aware of the importance of oral transmission. At the beginning, it is a father who tells things to his daughter. Then the little one will tell a story to her brother (the story is known by the whole family, we see for a moment the mother who takes over). Tale. We can see how the story can support the action in reality, the hero’s ability to confront things is a benchmark for the child, a story can motivate.


Not everyone is lucky enough to know how to read or write, here Parvana tries to earn some money with this ability. She had the chance, as a girl, to receive a school education.


A family that lacks money and has to give up their belongings to buy food. We see that it becomes even more complicated when the father of the family is imprisoned and there are only women left to get by (especially in a society where women are not allowed to leave the house alone ). Silver. We can clearly see that it is complicated to obtain one, that the children sometimes have to work, that they are exploited.

Parvana, a childhood in Afghanistan



Two Taliban start reacting to cries from a little girl they can’t stand, they don’t appreciate a woman being noticed, we fear that they will attack the father, they force him to get up even if he only has one leg. Big knock on the door, then armed men burst into the house, the father was denounced and found himself handcuffed and taken to prison, the women of the family were unable to do anything, it was a very hard moment. The mother dares to go out of the house without a man, to try to free her husband, she is with her daughter, she has to pass through dark places so as not to be noticed, but a car stops, she is going to have a man question him who ends up beating him with a cane (we don’t see anything, but we hear the blows and it seems very violent) and when the mother comes home, we can clearly see that she is in pain to move, she is injured, we will see later a black eye.


We see a father and his daughter having to sell their belongings, we feel that the daughter is disappointed to have to part with her pretty dress. We see that the mother is not in great shape, she has dark circles under her eyes. The precious photo of the father is torn up by a Taliban. The story told shows us monsters that devour trees (big beasts with yellow eyes, big teeth), are stylized not very scary, but they are still disturbing for a little one. The family has little to eat. The little girl will dare to go out to go to the market, but no seller wants to take the risk of selling her something, she is spotted by boys and has to run, she will lose her bag and her money in the race, she cries. She makes the decision to cut her hair to look like a boy. We learn that there was a brother before in the family, we understand that he had to be killed. We see another family, a woman in front of her door who is attacked by men, she is beaten and has to go back inside. One of the Taliban has a letter read to him by Parvana, he learns that a woman he liked is dead (we later understand that it is his wife), he is shocked. An old man seems to have a very young wife. The little girl goes to the prison hoping to see her father, she has some money for it, but the man at the door is intransigent, he aggressively sends her away (it’s surprising when the man arrives suddenly at the window, then will receive a blow in the stomach), we see her leave injured, at least she will not have had problems with the curfew. The children are abandoned far from home by a man who has exploited them, it is feared that they will fall on a mine. In the tale, there is something dangerous following the little boy, and he does not dare to confront it. We see that Parvana’s girlfriend is exhausted, she is falling from fatigue, a young man makes fun of them, wants to show that he is stronger than them, shows himself to be dominant, puts Parvana on the ground and realizes that it is a girl, she hits him, he has blood on his face, hysterical he goes to chase them with a gun, the little ones have to flee, hide in a hole where he tries to enter, he shoots the submachine gun, it’s very tense. In the tale, the boy is thrown to the bottom of the well, three skeletons come out of the ground. We knock on the door of the family, we fear a new problem, it is the cousin who was to come the next day to pick them up, and Parvana has left for the day, he does not want to wait for her, the mother does not want her. give up, so the man grabs the youngest to force her into the car, he says war is coming. Parvana is in prison, we hear screams inside, we wonder what’s going on there, sound of machine guns. Airplanes arrive and drop bombs. The cousin’s car must have stopped, the mother does not want to leave with him, he pulls out a knife. In the prison, a man goes to look for the father, but he is stopped by a guard with a submachine gun, he says that he is transporting the dead father, we can’t see anything, but we hear the sound of gunfire, we can fear that the man helping was taken down. In the tale the child faces the elephant king, he is imposing and disturbing. Parvana was to flee at sunset, but she returns to the prison gate, fearing for her life. The mother holds the knife by the blade, we see the blood flowing. There is not necessarily a clear end, Parvana has managed to get the father out of prison, but it is war, she is alone in the middle of the night with her half-unconscious father whom she is transporting in a wheelbarrow, her mother and his sister are on the road, who knows where, everything is not settled.


We are talking about death. If at first we do not know how Parvana’s brother died, we learn the horrible reality, the little boy wanted to take a toy in the street, he was trapped and he exploded.


Parvana announces to her friend that she is going to leave, we realize how much the little one feels abandoned, yet she gives her her money.


Classic language.

A hard film that raises awareness of the fate of those who have to face the Taliban, we touch the family, we fear the death of the father. The nine year old proposed here deserves support, even for a 10 year old the film is difficult, but it is a reality that deserves to be explained and discovered, not everyone has the chance to go to school , to have equal treatment. Compared to other productions, this one has above all the characteristic of being a story that can really take place on our planet, and if this is made aware, it can mark more, it is better to be next to the child to see this film.

what others say. Here and here, presentations of the film.

Not recommended for children under:9 yearsFormat:feature filmYear:2017Duration:94 minutesStudio:cartoon saloonCountry:Canada, Ireland, LuxembourgCreators:Nora TwomeyUniverse:War, History, ReligionTechnical:CartoonThemes:Gender Equality, Family, Strength of the Weak, Storytelling, Freedom, Poverty, Perseverance, Politics, Protection, Religion, Tolerance, Journey of Initiation

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