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Archive for November 15th, 2007

On Saturday my mom and dad came to Charlotte for not only a visit, but to go see the pre-release screening of The Kite Runner on campus in UNC Charlotte’s McKnight Hall. After being told to turn our cell phones off when we entered the room, the entire crowd was told to ensure that we should provide no reason to suspect our taping of the movie or we would be thrown out. Understandably, the restrictions were reasonable, but I had not thought about the process in which movie screeners get leaked on bittorrent and this cleared up that picture a lot.

I had no idea what the story was about, all I knew about the movie was from an NPR Talk of the Nation interview a few weeks back with the book’s author talking about how the movie release was delayed to protect the Afghani boys because of a rape scene that the people of Afghanistan may think was real. Thus leading them to stone the boys or something to that matter. The studio wasn’t sure that something like that would happen, but they wanted to take every precaution.

I was surprisingly moved by the film. The story progressed from the viewpoint of the main character Amir jan and his boyhood as the son of a wealthy citizen in Kabul. The main focal point in the early part of the movie was the relationship that Amir jan shared with the son of his fathers servant, Hassan. They were best friends until Hassan met with the wrath of nationalistic and racist bullies that acted out the tensions expressed to them by their fathers’ hatred of the Hazara peoples in Afghanistan.

Amir jan eventually must flee to America due to the Russian invasion of Kabul where he grows up. After he matures, he must return to his battered and war torn country to make right his forsaken friendship.

Fully expecting emotional manipulation from the score and events of the movie, refreshingly the sentiments were genuine and touching. Free from the usual flaunting and over dramatization of characters in a movie like this. Where there were many opportunities to turn to political commentary on the history of Afghanistan and the current and past role of the United States, the film never became preachy and was as un-politicized as possible. The only thing close to political commentary was a line from one of the soldiers, “Afghanistan is never kind to invaders.” But, in context it fits. This movie is the opposite of what a political commentary would be.

A touching story of a boy and his trials growing up in a turbulent country. A great film and highly recommended.

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