The Breadwinner (2017) Script

Anything written, anything read.

Pashto and Dari.

Beautiful items for sale.

Anything written, anything read.

Pashto and Dari. Beautiful items for sale.

I saw you serve a woman!

I saw you with my own eyes! No, I... I... I didn't...

You were! I saw you! Anything written, anything read. Pashto and Dari. Beautiful items for sale.

Parvana...'s the only thing of value we have left.

I never wore it. Not even once!

Where would you wear it, Parvana?

Let's continue your studies, all right?

Yes, Baba. Now, what can you tell me about the Silk Road?

The Silk Road...

Baba, I can't remember about the Silk Road.

Maybe if we think of it like a story, huh?

Stories remain in our hearts even when all else is gone.

Our people have always told stories from our very beginning, when we were Parthia and Khurasan.

A fractured land in the claws of the Hindu Kush mountains, scorched by the fiery eyes of the northern deserts.

Black rubble earth against ice peaks, our land was the petrified skeleton of a monster.

We were Auriana, the land of the noble and honorable.

We were a pathway to everywhere, carrying goods from east to west.

We studied the stars and began to see order amidst the chaos.

We were scientists, philosophers and storytellers.

Questions sought answers and then more questions.

We began to see our place in the universe, but we were at the edges of empires at war with each other as borders were defined and redefined over thousands of years.

Of these mighty rulers came Cyrus the Great of Persia, then Alexander the Great of Macedon, then came the Mauryan Empire, Genghis Khan, and so on and so on. Each time there was bloodshed, and each time there were survivors.

The pattern repeating itself endlessly.

When I was young, Parvana, I knew what peace felt like here, in this city.

Children went to school, women went to university; all the empires forgot about us... for a while, at least.

But it did not last.

The ground became weak under our feet, always uncertain.

First came a coup d'├ętat, then an invasion, then a civil war.

In the chaos, some looked to those who might restore order... but at a great cost.

We have determined specific dignity for women!

Women should not go outside and attract unnecessary attention!

If a woman shows herself, she will be cursed by Islamic Sharia and should never expect to go to heaven.

Everything changes, Parvana.

Stories remind us of that.


Were you listening at all?

Yes, Baba.

Why don't you tell me about our nomadic ancestors and their hills of gold?


2,000 years ago...


2,000 years ago... there was a Bactrian princess who had a crown...

- And? And...

- Parvana? Away!

Keep away from my things! Go away!

I said go away you silly dog!

Hey! Hey, you! What do you think you're doing?

Why is this girl shouting?

She is only a child. She meant nothing by it.

She's drawing attention to herself!

She should be at home, not displaying herself in the market. I have no son at home except an infant. I need my daughter to help me.

Stand up when we talk to you! I said stand up.

I know you. Yes, Idrees.

I was your teacher once. You were a good student.

You wasted my time, teaching me things of no worth.

I have joined theTaliban and now I fight the enemies of Islam.

Well if I am an enemy, then for my sins, God has taken my leg.

Are you making fun of me, old man?

I lost my leg in the war. The war we fought together.

How old is the girl?

- Idrees... She is a child.

She's old enough to marry! I'll be looking for a wife soon.

She's already been promised to someone.

Well, she should cover herself properly!

Maybe you should stop looking at her.

What did you say to me? I said, "Stop looking at her!"

I can have you killed! Idrees...

You watch what you say! That's enough! Come on!

Are you all right?

Yes, Baba.

That's my girl. Let's go home now.


You told that boy I was promised to someone. Am I getting married?

Of course not! You are still a child.

I want you playing and telling stories.

I'm too old for that now.

Too old for stories?

You've always loved stories.

What's the use?

I'll have a word with Mama-jan and we'll sort it all out.

Please don't mention the dress.

...then I'll never hear the end of it.

The end of what? Nothing, Mama-jan.

We're not selling Parvana's good dress!

Baba! That's not what I meant.

We need the money, Baba.

Well, we'll hold off for a bit.

I think business will pick up.

If business picks up, then we won't have to sell it. Sure, when the sky is fallen and the earth is hard. We will have to sell it soon.

Well, what about a little story before dinner and we'll forget all about dresses for a while?

Maybe Parvana would like to read something for us.

Not right now, Mama-jan. I'm tired.

She's not a child anymore, she tells me.

So, she doesn't like stories.

Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, my sweet girl.

It might not be all that you expect.

We're out of water. You didn't bring enough this morning.

There's half a bucket by the door!

When I was young enough to fetch water, the buckets were never empty. Hey!

Girls, stop it! Either you go out and get more water after dinner, or you can wash Zaki's dirty diapers.

How are you feeling?

Better... now that you're here.

Maybe if you didn't wash your hair so much, we wouldn't run out so quickly, eh? Parvana...

You should have some respect.

Why don't you eat?

Hm? Things always look better when your belly is full. Yes, Mother.

Zaki! Zaki!

Wait 'til I pull up your sleeves!

No, Mama-jan! No, Mama-jan!

There. There you go.

Don't eat all the raisins, Parvana.

Leave them for Zaki. Why don't you give him that big raisin on your chin, Soraya?

Oh, but it's not a raisin.

It's a big, hairy mole.


Apologize to Soraya.


He's in there!

I saw him!

If there are women present... Baba?

...cover yourselves now!

That's the man! An enemy of Islam!

He's got forbidden books and he's teaching the women with them!

Nurullah Alisai! You must come with us quietly, or it will be worse for you!


You can't take him! Baba!


Where is he being taken?

To prison.

They'll teach him a good lesson in Pul-e-Charkhi.



Can I light the lamp?

Hush, Parvana.

You'll wake Zaki.

But if they let Baba go, he'll need the light in the window to see home.

How could he come home? He doesn't even have his stick to walk with.

Now, go back to sleep.

It will be all right.

How do you know that, Mama-jan? How do you know?

Be quiet, Parvana. She has enough to worry about.

Hey! Zaki! Stop it!

Get up, Par vana.

Stop laying around. Why? What's going on?

You and I are going to find Baba.

The boy said he was being taken to Pul-e-Charkhi prison, so that's where we are going.

We can't go outside without Baba!

Soraya is writing a letter for the prison governor to protest Nurullah's arrest and ask for his release.

At least I can give them that.

Mama-jan, it's not allowed!

We might be all right if we don't draw attention to ourselves. But we can't...

Come on, Parvana. And bring Baba's walking stick.

We have to get going.



Hey, you!

Salaam. Can you tell me the way to Pul-e-Charkhi?


It's east. Past the river. But it's a long way.

Thank you, sir. Listen, go through the old town or you will be caught.

Why are you out here by yourself? Where is your husband?

I... I have no choice! It's not permitted to be out here without your husband or your brother.

I am sorry, I know...

Do you understand? I am bringing a letter protesting my husband's arrest... Just go home!

No! What do you mean, "no"?

This is Nurullah Alisai, my husband. He was arrested last night with no charges... Photographs are forbidden!

What are you doing, showing me a photograph?

Out here, by yourself?! There is no one in my house except for children! I need to... You have no business out here!

Do you understand? ...find out about my husband!

Just go home! Immediately!

You're looking for trouble now!

You are insulting your husband! You are an insult to your race!

I need to find out what happened to him!

I need to find... SHUT UP!

Going to the prison will change nothing.

If you make trouble like this, your husband will be punished severely for your insolence.

And if I find you out here again by yourself, I will arrest you.

Now go.


Take me home.

Shh! Go get water, Parvana.

We have none left.

Come on!

What are you up to?!

Get out of here! They'll see you!

Hey, stop!

Through here!


Where did that boy go? Did you see? Did you see?!

Hey, you! Girl!

Hey! Come on! Forget about her!

Parvana, this is only half a bucket.

Couldn't you fill them up all the way?

Mama-jan! Zaki! Shh!

Don't wake her. Hush, Zaki!

Soothe him, Parvana! Mama-jan...

Tell him a story. Mama...

One time, in the distant past, there was a little village at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains. I want Mama-jan...

Shh! Listen! The villagers had just managed to gather precious seeds and so there was dancing and singing and laughing and eating.

Everyone was happy!

Especially for one boy who danced and sang and laughed and ate more than anyone else.

While the villagers were dancing and singing and laughing and eating, monsters were coming.

The monsters frightened the donkeys and ate the trees.

They stole the most precious thing in the whole village, the seeds for next year's crop.

And they ran back to the Hindu Kush mountains where their master lived, the dreadful Elephant King with spikes for tusks!






Ooh, Zaki! Ooh!

Please eat, Mama-jan.

You'll feel better when your belly is full.

There's hardly any food left.

I'll go to the market.

- Salaam. Salaam. 12 oranges, please.

100 afghani.

Thank you.

Salaam. How much for six apples, please?

Salaam, child. I can't serve you.

But sir... can I please have six apples?

Get your father to buy food for you.

My father's been taken.

I'm sorry. Maybe come back later.

...literally stolen. But, you know...

Salaam! Can I have a kilo of rice, please?

Salaam! Hey, you!

Girl! Hey, stop!

Stop when I tell you!



I dropped the bag.

Hush. I lost the money.

Keep your head back. I can get the water, though.

Shh. Don't worry about that now.

I saved you a piece of naan.

I'll heat it up for you so it's nice and fresh. All right?

What are we going to do?

- I don't know. Maybe if I go out early, before it's crowded? It won't work, Parvana.

Market sellers won't risk getting in trouble for serving you.

Mama-jan has cousins in Mazar-e-Sharif.

I could write to them for help.

But we've never even met them.

How do you know they will help?

We need food now.

These were your brothers' clothes.

They will be big, but we can take them up a bit.

Do I look like a boy?

You look like Sulayman.

So much like him. Mama-jan.

He was such a good boy.

Not much older than you are now...


It's all right, Mama-jan.

Parvana is going to the market for food and water.

It's the only way, Mama-jan. We have nothing left.

All these juices are warm! I don't want warm juice...

Buy some bracelets!

That's what I said! But you know...

- Salaam! What is this?

Salaam! Excuse me! Salaam!

Salaam! Salaam! Come inside, boy!

I'm not going to deliver, am I?

But you know how it goes, right?

Well then, let's hear it!

I need a kilo of rice, half kilo lentils and a small amount of raisins.

A small amount?

Ha ha! Should I go by my imagination?

Yes. Not very bright, this one! Ha ha ha ha!

Poor iron won't make a sharp sword!

Ha ha ha ha!

Look at him smiling! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Little guy doesn't even know when he's being made fun of!

Thank you! Thank you very, very much.

You're spilling the tea.

Oh. Sorry, Uncle.

AH! Who are you and why were you staring at me? I...

What is your name? My name?

I know you from somewhere! No! I wasn't...

"Wasn't" what? I... you don't know me!

I do know you. No!

I do know you! You're Parvana! I'm not!

I am Shauzia! Remember? From school?


I had long hair then, but... so did you.

Deliwar? Don't tell anyone.

Here's your cap.

You need to get a boy's name so you don't hesitate next time somebody asks you. Deliwar!

I am Deliwar now. It means brave.

Where are you? I... I have to run.

It was good to see you!


Mama-jan, please sit down.

It will be curfew soon. What if she's not back by then?

She's fine, I'm...

Who's hungry?!


Praise Allah! He has returned you to me!

Mama-jan, you're squashing the naan!

It smells delicious, Parvana.


It's me. See?

I bought them especially for you.


If you run out and get some water, he'll get used to you by the time you come back.

But I'm tired.

Hurry on, Parvana. It's almost curfew.

You look so much like him.

Go change Sulayman's clothes or you'll get them dirty.

They are already dirty.



He wants you to continue your story about the elephant.


Well, um... the village, under the Hindu Kush mountains, the poor villagers cried bitter tears.

They did not know what they would do without their precious bag of seeds.

They would have nothing to sow come next spring, and nothing to eat come next winter.

But the boy, he did not cry bitter tears.

He looked toward the mountain and he shouted...

I am not afraid of you, big, spiky, bad Elephant King!

Well... maybe he was a little bit afraid.

He told the villagers who had been weeping bitter tears that he would get the bag of seeds back before spring.

I will get the bag of seeds back before spring!

But they laughed!

They laughed and laughed because he was a child and not a great warrior. Yet the boy repeated his promise.

I will I get the bag of seeds back before spring!

And he left the village to the sound of the elephant king's roars ahead of him.

Mama-jan! Now that I'm a boy, we can go to the prison and find Baba!

No, Parvana. We can't do that.

Why not? Shh!

It's not that simple, Parvana.

But we have to try!

There's nothing we can do. That's not true!

Stop it, Parvana! You're upsetting her!

Hey! Hey! I told you to stop!

Why do you keep running?!

You should have stopped when we told you!

Where is your burqa? Why are you dressed like this outside your house? My husband took my burqa!

I needed to buy medicine!

Why did your husband not get it for you?

Because she's a girl! My baby is a girl! He should be punished for letting you outside like this! Please, please, please! No!

You have to take the punishment!


Deliwar! DELIWAR!

Well, have you remembered your name yet?

I don't think I can go on like this.

Too bad. I could use some help.

I saw something.

What do you want me to say?

I should have helped. You'd have helped yourself to a good whipping, that's all. But I'm not a boy!

You're not a boy; you're not a girl. Now, I need a helper because this tray is too heavy. Will you help?

Scratch my nose, quickly!

If I let go of the tray, the strap will break!

That's better.

Aatish. What?

I remembered my name. It's Aatish.

That's not really a name. It means fire.

I know what it means but it's still not a name.

Then it suits me fine.

I'll call you Aatish then.

When you're a boy, you can go anywhere you like, Aatish Khan!

Where are we going?

You'll see.

What if someone sees us?

I usually just pretend I work here.

If you look like you believe it, then they will too.

See? We're cleaners.

What are you waiting for?

It's either ours or the mice eat it.

I need to find a way to see my baba.

You can have mine if you like.

I don't want him. My father was taken to prison and we've heard nothing of him since.

They won't let you see him, Parvana.

But I'm a boy now! It doesn't make a difference.

They'll keep him or let him go, but there's nothing you can do about it. You don't know that!

I'm sorry.

It's just the way it is.

There might be a way, but... you'll need lots of money.

What for?

You can get a lot done with bribes. A lot!

Anything written, anything read.

Pashto and Dari.

Wonderful items for sale.

Anything written, anything read.

Anything written, anything read.

What happened to the man who used to sit here?

It is a simple question.

Don't you know?

How should I know? Answer the question. Where is he?

He left for Mazar-e-Sharif.

And what are you to him?

I'm his nephew.


Do you know how to read? Do you have something to read?

I read Pashto and Dari. Read this.

Let's see if you're any good.

Come on. Take it out of the envelope.

Dear Razaq...

Louder, or I will have to take my business elsewhere!

Dear Razaq, I hope this letter reaches you in Kabul.

I'm writing to you with sad news.

I am sorry to tell you that Hala Begum died on the way to her sister's wedding.

The bus she was traveling on hit a land-mine.

Her injuries were too great to bear and she died some hours afterward.

I know this must be a great shock to you, but please know that when I last spoke to Hala, she told me of your kindness toward her.

May Allah bless you now, guide your path and give you courage.

I'm sorry.

Ah, there's my sweet little girl!

Underneath all the dust of Kabul.

Parvana, what did you give Zaki?

It's a piece of candy! A piece?!


It's big enough to choke him!

Let him be, Soraya. You're spoiling his fun!


Continue the story, Parvana, for Zaki.

There was this young boy and... he promised his people to find the precious seeds.

Elephant? Elephant?

Yes, and the elephant.

At night, the boy walked through the pine trees on his way to the mountain to face the elephant king.

Something was following him in the darkness but he was too terrified to turn around and face it.

He began to run and the thing that chased him also ran.

The boy ran faster and so did his pursuer.

He ran into the night, chased by the unknown demons until he could run no more.

He tumbled down a hill.

Down and... down and... down.

Dear Cousin, it has been many years since we have spoken but I am writing to you now to tell you that my husband has been arrested and we have no word on when he will be released, if at all.

My family is in a desperate situation and I need your help.

My eldest daughter is now of age and I am asking that you consider her as a bride for your youngest son, Ajmal.

Please, take us out of Kabul so that we may have a chance of survival.

We will not be a burden to you.

We are skilled and strong and need little by the way of means.

May the blessings ofAllah be upon you, Fattema.

Anything written, anything read. Anything written, anything read.

Anything written...

- How much for the dress? Salaam. It's handmade.

How much? 3,000.

Don't be stupid. I'll give you 300.

2,000. Handmade in Mazar-e-Sharif.

Your daughter will be very happy to wear such a beautiful dress!

She is my wife.


See how it sparkles?

Here's 1,000.

How much did you make?

1,000. That might be enough for a good bribe. Really?

Definitely! I'm saving up too.

Whatever money I can hide from my father I keep, and it's mounting up to a nice little sum.


I'm not going to stay here forever, you know.

Have you ever been to the sea?

No. Neither have I, but I've heard that the moon pulls the water onto the shore and then back out again.

I want to see that. I want to put my feet on the warm sand and have them cooled by the lapping water.

What about your father?

Doesn't he depend on you?

I am a good son... but he is not a good father.

What will you do by the sea?

I'd... buy things and sell things like I do here, but for myself. There are people who go to the edge of the water to do nothing!

They just sit there and they look at the sea with their sunglasses on... or swim about on floating tubes.

So I could sell them those things.

That sounds nice, Deliwar.

Maybe I'll join you.

Where are you going? Wish me luck.

Why are you back so early?

I brought some bread and raisins for Zaki.

What are you doing, Parvana? I'm going to find Baba.

No, you're not. I'm going.

You won't make it home before curfew!

I'm going! There's nothing you can do to stop me!

Mama-jan has been through enough without you doing something so stupid!

I have to find him! Parvana! Parvana!


Excuse me?

Salaam? Hello?

Excuse me? WHAT DO YOU WANT?

Ah! I said, "What do you want?"

I want to see my father. Who?

My father, Nurullah Alisai, brought here two weeks ago without charge.

Get out of here! I have money!

1,000 afghani. I can give it to you if you promise to help! Hey! What are you doing?

Nothing. Just getting rid of a kid.

Please! Open up! I have to see my father!

I have to see him! AHH!


Now get out of here unless you want some more!

They say it doesn't always rain the way it thunders.

Last we heard of him, the boy had fallen down.

He had fallen down the hill and into the deepest of sleeps.

But all was not lost.

He was discovered by an old woman. She had a drum.

A magic drum that beat so beautifully that his heart woke up.

She knew he must be on a quest and so she asked him, What is it you seek?

Well you see, the dreadful Elephant King sent his jaguars to steal the...

No one has ever overcome the Elephant King!

I know.

What makes you think you can?

I need to.

I just need to. That's all.

That's not a very good answer.

Nevertheless, the woman told him he'd need to find three things: something that shines, something that ensnares, and something that soothes.

Only then would he overcome the Elephant King. Give them to me!

Please! I don't have them.

So you better go look for them.

And hurry! If the seeds are not planted soon, there will be no harvest!

- Yes, I know. She told him to head east.

East is the other way.

Still something followed the boy.

And still, he could not face it.

He didn't take the money?

I don't think bribes work on them.

No, no.

It probably wasn't enough.

It might have insulted him.

You'll just have to save up more and be even smarter next time.

AHH! I have to be smarter?

I've heard there is a guy who pays well for small jobs.

Come on!

Sir, we have come to work.

And you are?

I'm Deliwar and this is Aatish. We are brothers.

What kind of a name is Aatish?

I don't know. Ask our father. Where is your father?

He was martyred by the Russians.

We can do any job you want!

For the right price.

That's the last one, I think. Where are we, anyway?

About time! You boys are not very strong.

It was more work than you said.

Here you are. Now be off.

Hey, we did all that you asked!

Wait! You said you'd drive us back!

I'm not a taxi! Make your own way home.

I'm late already because you took so long to load the truck! Wait!

I need to rest a moment.

Stay on the path. This place might be mined.

This is not nearly enough.

We need better jobs. Like what?

I heard brickmaking pays well, but it's hard work.

I wish I was stronger.

But you have an older brother, don't you?

He used to bring you to school on his shoulders.

What's his name?


He died.

How? Was it a sickness?

I don't know. But your mother must have told you. She doesn't speak of it, all right?

All right.

Hey, look what I've got!

I found it in a little box where my father keeps his things.

Can you believe the water is that blue?

It's very nice.

Anything written, anything read.

Anything written, Anything written, anything read.

I didn't pay you last time.

How much do I owe you? It's OK, I...

What, you don't charge for bad news?

Who taught you to read? The cripple teacher?

Yes. My uncle.

Can you write as good as you read?

I can.


I kept this in case you wanted it.

Show me.

Show me where it says her name.

Where it says Hala.




Do you know what it means?


Sometimes, on a clear night when you look at the moon, you can see a bright outline around it.

That outline is called hala.

My wife was named for that light.


This is too much. Don't argue with me.

Thank you.

Pull my sister's hair.

I pull my sister's... Stop it, Zaki.

Can I pull yours?

Keep him quiet. I am trying to sleep.

What's the matter with you?

Why don't you tell Zaki a story?

Hm? We'd all like that.

Well Zaki, do you want to know what happened to the boy? Elephant?

Elephant? Yes, yes.

And the elephant.

The boy ran and ran, his heart beating fast in fear and the thing that chased him...

- AH! ...never stopped.

So the boy hid behind the tree and he waited for courage.

An ancient woman had been trying to milk a goat but her back was very sore.

My back is very sore!

The boy took pity on her and told her to rest under the shade of a tree and he would do the milking instead.

Please, sit under the shade of this tree and I will do the milking instead.

When he finished milking the goat, the old woman shared the lovely, warm milk with him.

It was the nicest milk he had ever tasted, and he complimented the woman on her goats!

Your goats are very generous!

In return, the old woman gave him a mirror.

See how it shines!

The boy was delighted with the mirror but as he looked into it, he saw the reflection of the thing that followed him.

What are you doing, Mama-jan?

I'm laying out Soraya's good clothes.

Am I to sell them at the market?

Shh. Sh, sh, sh. Parvana, it's time to sleep.

I just need to find a way to get to Peshawar and I can figure it out from there.

I think there's a beach in Goa where the tourists are very rich.

If they're rich, they will buy my blue stones and that's where I'd set up my business and... you could join me!

Once I find Baba.

Once you find your baba.

100. I'll give you 85.

90! 82.

85 and that's final.

85 and a bunch of grapes and that's final.

You're leaning too hard on the pen, but your writing is good.

If you try it more gently, it'll be easier.

Wait! Wait a moment!

What is it, child?

You asked me before about the man who used to sit there, the teacher.

Your uncle? He didn't go to Mazar-e-Sharif. He was taken to prison... but he did nothing wrong! Which one?

What? Which prison?

Pul-e-Charkhi. It's been weeks now and my family has had no word of him.

Go to the prison on Wednesday. Ask for Roshaan.

He is my cousin. Tell him Razaq sent you and he will help you... if he can.


With work like this, I'll be an old woman by the time I get to the sea.

Or an old man.

You sit and rest, Deliwar, and I'll tell you a story.

A story? Yes, a story.

One time, in the deep past, there was a boy who had to return a stolen bag of precious seeds to his village.

Is it a happy story or a sad story?

Just wait and see.

The boy had been told he needed three things in order to overcome the Elephant King.

Something that shines, something that ensnares, and something that...

Hey! You two! Come here!

Come on!

I know that boy.

Hurry and come here!

Come on!

We'd better do what we're told.

Get a move on, lazy kids!

So these are the new workers.

Where are your tongues?

Are you stupid? Idrees suggested we have a little arm wrestling match... to see if you are strong enough to work for me.

I saw you sitting down over there instead of working.

Idrees, stop now.

Make me some tea.


Let me see how feeble you are, little one!

He can't even lift his hands!

Get up and make us tea.


I think you need new workers.

These ones are no good.

Enough, Idrees. Leave the poor kids alone.

They are a little undercooked.

I know you. You're the teacher's daughter.


AHH! Idrees!

Bring the gun back! I said, bring the gun back! IDREES!




Idrees! It has begun! We are moving west!

We have been given orders to go immediately!

I know who you are!

Idrees! Do you hear?

Get up here!

Come on!

Right now, you little coward!

You want to fight?

Now is your chance to fight!

You'll become a man.

He's gone.

What if he comes back?

He'd be lucky.

Where are we?

I came here once when I ran away.

I think the way in has gotten smaller or I have gotten bigger.

It looks old.

I lost a shoe.

I lost my cap... although I think it's outside.

Why did you hit him?

When they took my father, he was one of them.

Tell me more about the boy.

What boy? The story boy.

The boy was cold.

Though the sun burned in the sky, it gave no heat.

But he had a warm hat and a big coat.

- Oh! No, he didn't!

He had already found one of the three things, a mirror that shone. But when he looked at it, he saw something behind him.

Something scary! Something dreadful!

- A horse! No, Shauzia! Not a horse.

Yes, it was!

And it was a very old horse whose bones clattered together when it walked. It wasn't scary at all!


The boy felt sad for the old horse and fed him hay, and... And they all lived happily ever after! It's the middle of the story, not the end! From a door carved into the stone, out came a round man.

You wasted my hay on an old horse that will soon be dead! The round man threw the boy deep into the belly of an ancient well.

At the bottom of the well, there were emeralds and the round man wanted them brought up to him as payment for the wasted hay.

You will bring the emeralds to me!

What's his name?

- The round man? No, the boy.

You can't have a story about a boy and not give him a name.

Give him a name before I do!

Sulayman. His name is Sulayman.

That's a good name.

Sulayman lay at the bottom of the well.

Suddenly, he could see skeletons.

Three skeletons, each with an emerald clutched in its bony hands. He called out for help.

- HELP! The poor, old horse looked back at him from way above.

But the horse did something extraordinary!

He neighed with the voice of all the world's animals.

Sulayman climbed up, up, all the way to the top and he thanked the horse for saving his life.

Thank you for saving my life!

Sulayman had just three emeralds with him and he asked the round man for food in return. He was hungry.

But the round man was wicked and cheap.

He threw a fishing net at Sulayman and he told him to get his own food.

That was exactly what Sulayman needed...

- Ha ha! ...something that ensnares.

But as Sulayman left, the ghosts of the three skeletons came out of the three emeralds and swirled and twirled and scared the round man in frightful vengeance for having lost them their lives.

Sulayman and the horse continued their journey toward the mountain, but the horse was getting slower and slower.

He needed to rest, being very, very old.

And so Sulayman made a shelter for the horse and told him to wait for him.

The horse protested, but Sulayman knew he had to face the Elephant King and the jaguars all by himself.

I will see you again, old horse.

And so on he went alone.

Tomorrow isWednesday. I'm going back there... to the prison.

They'll have to let me see him then.

From now on, you're staying inside.

It's much too dangerous. No, Mama-jan.

We manage all right out there. We?

Me and Deliwar. She's a girl too.

We work together. We've written to my cousin to arrange a marriage for your sister in Mazar.

They wrote back and it was accepted. Someone will come for us the day after tomorrow to take us away.

You don't need to do this anymore! What?!

We can't go on like this!

We can't depend on you to keep us alive!

Why? I provide for you just fine!

It's not the job of a child!

How can we leave without Baba?!

Every day, you come home with cuts and blisters.

Every day, you go out there and I don't know if I'll see you back again!

I can't lose you too.

I'm not going.

Baba could come back and no one will be here waiting for him.

So how long should we wait?

Until you're found out and taken away from me?

Until I have to send Zaki out to earn our keep?

Let me go see him before we leave.

Let me tell him where we are going! Parvana!

Let me bring him his walking stick.

Then I will go with you!

Then I will be a good sister and a good daughter. I promise.

I promise.

Please don't go. Please.

It is much too dangerous now. Mama-jan...

I'm going. I'll be back tonight before curfew.

No, Sulayman! Mama-jan...

You won't come back. Let her go now.

Let Parvana go.

Oh! Give a kiss!



You frightened me half to death!

I've been looking for you everywhere.

Why? You want to work at the chai shop with me this morning?

No, I can't. Hey, you want some candy for Zaki?

We are leaving Kabul tomorrow.

You're leaving me?

It's been arranged. There's nothing I can do.

My sister is getting married in Mazar-e-Sharif.

I'm going back to the prison. I found someone who can help me and I need to get more money to bribe the guard.

I'll need it today!

You'll just get another punch in the guts.

It's a stupid idea. I won't let that happen this time! I said, It's a stupid idea.

Please, help me! What do you want me to do?

Magic some money into your hand like in your kid stories?

It doesn't work like that, Parvana!

I can't help you.

Now run away to Mazar-e-Sharif and have a nice wedding party. Maybe they'll find a husband for you too and your troubles will be over... until after the wedding, at least. You fool!



Shauzia... come with us.

I can't.

My father will come all the way to Mazar to kill me

I can't leave Kabul, Parvana. Not like this.

Here. Take this. I can't take your money!

Please, take it.

Go and see your baba.

Tell him that his daughter is a good daughter.

Tell him that...

Deliwar said so.

Hey, Deliwar!


I'll meet you at that beach you were talking about, where the moon pulls the water!

20 years from today.

I don't think I'll recognize you then, Aatish.

Well, you can sell me some pretty blue stones for a great price.

Until next time, then.

Until next time.

Peace be upon you. Are you Fattema?

Yes, I am Fattema. I am your second cousin.

Mohamed Abdul sent me from Mazar.

Gather your family. We must leave immediately.

No. You see, you weren't supposed to come so soon.

My son is away, we must wait for him to return. There is a war coming!

Have you not heard?

We have to leave now, before they block the roads!

We have to wait until she comes home!

I have to wait for my daughter!

Son, daughter! Which is it? Gather your things, we are leaving now! I am not leaving without Parvana! We have to wait!

Count yourself lucky I am taking you, old woman.

The girl and the baby are of more worth.

I didn't come all this way for nothing!

If we do not go now, we won't get out of here at all! Give me my baby!

Let go! Give him to me! Please! Zaki!

Zaki! Give me my baby! GIVE HIM TO ME!

NO! GIVE HIM TO ME! Let go! Let go!

- Salaam, little one. Salaam.

Where are you going to with an old man's stick?

It belongs to my baba.

I'm taking it to him... to the prison.

I see.

We are going that way.

Give the baby to me! Let go!

Let go! If you want to keep the baby, come with me!

Ah, Zaki, you... my daughter is out there!

Then what kind of fool are you to have sent her out alone?

Get in, or she won't be the only child you lose today!

No, don't! Give me my baby!

Keep him quiet!

Zaki! Wait for my daughter!

Come, Soraya. We must start a fire.

I am looking for Roshaan! Hey!

I am looking for Roshaan! I am looking for Roshaan!

I am looking for Roshaan!

I am looking for Roshaan! Open the door!

Get away from the door, you stupid kid!

I am looking for Roshaan! Get out of here!

I am looking for Roshaan! Are you stupid? Shut up!

What are you doing here? It's all right.

He is my son. You are wanted inside.

That boy needs some discipline.

That's my business.

What in the name of the merciful are you doing here?!

It's Wednesday!

I've come to meet your cousin, Roshaan.

There's a war started!

Roshaan has gone to fight.

We've been brought from the city to clear the prison of anyone who won't fight for us.

The teacher... Is he alive?

I don't know. The teacher is my father.

I am Parvana, his daughter.

Help him.


If I'm not back before the sun has gone down, you run.

Run as far away as you can from here and you keep on running.

You can't stay here after sunset, do you understand?

Thank you.

Do you understand? Yes.

Hide yourself until then.

Once, there was a young boy... called Sulayman.

He knew his heart was fated to serve his people and he was running out of time.

Thank you. Thank you so much.

Come on. Get in the car.

We have to go back for my daughter.

I said, Come here! Now!

We're not going with you.

Mama-jan! You!

Come now! Do you hear me?

You come here like I told you to!

You come now!

We will not go with you.

Just drive away from us!

Get in the car. Get in the car, now!


Sulayman! Sulayman!

Be brave, Sulayman!

Run, Soraya!

Take Zaki and run! Now! Mama!

GO! Keep running!

You... let... us... go.

Open the door.

What are you doing with that? He's dead. I'm putting him with the others. Open the door. Let me through.

Move, move, move, move, move, move!

Stop! Get in a lineup, all of you!


I said, stop!

It will be dark soon.


Razaq! Razaq!

Sulayman... Sulayman!

The mirror shines!

Use it to blind the jaguars!

And then the snares!

Throw it over them!

Razaq! Razaq! Razaq!

I have come for my father!

I have come for my baba!

Put him down!

I said, put him down!

Do you see what is happening?

Where are you taking him? Who's out there?

Look away, can't you?

It is just one man. What does it matter?



Go, unless you're going to kill me!

I will scream and curse you until the last breath leaves my body.


You're crazy.


You can die out here for all I care!





I have not come to kill you!


Soothe him with your story! The one that Mama-jan can't speak of! Tell him!


- My name is Sulayman! Tell him what happened!

Tell him your story!

My name is Sulayman!

My mother is a writer.

My father is a teacher.

And my sisters always fight each other.

One day, I found a toy on the street.

I picked it up. It exploded.

I don't remember what happened after that... because it was the end. It's working, Sulayman!

Tell him! Tell him!

My name is Sulayman!

My mother is a writer.

My father is a teacher.

And my sisters always fight each other.

One day, I found a toy on the street. I picked it up.

It exploded!

It was the end.

My name is Sulayman.

My mother is a writer. One day, I found a toy on the street. My father is a teacher.

I picked it up. And my sisters always fight each other. It exploded.

One day, I found a toy on the street.

I don't remember what happened after that.

I picked it up.

Because it was the end.

The elephant was transformed!

He took the bag of seeds from the centre of the mountain and gave it back to Sulayman!

Sulayman returned to his village.

There was much dancing.

And singing. And laughing.

And eating.


Baba! Baba!

Is he alive?

It is not his blood.

He lives.

Get out of here now, child. Go on!

As fast as you can.

It's the moon.


S... Sora... SORAYA!

Mama? Soraya!

Soraya... Zaki...

We are a land whose people are its greatest treasure.

We are at the edges of empires at war with each other.


We are a fractured land in the claws of the Hindu Kush mountains, scorched by the fiery eyes of the northern deserts.

Black rubble earth against ice peaks.

We are... Auriana, the land of the noble.

Raise your hearts, not your voice.

It is rain that makes the flowers grow.

Not thunder.

SETTE inc.