Comments on watching and making films.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Kite Runner

It is my belief that, right now, Marc Forster is truly one of the best film directors we have. His films, which have included Monsters Ball, Finding Neverland, and Stranger Than Fiction, are of the highest quality, and almost all of his films have been successful, despite tackling subject matter that is not always broad enough for the general viewing audience. With The Kite Runner, Forster tackles a very heart felt, and omni-present issue - Religious persecution and fundamentalism in the Middle East, particularly Afghanistan.

The Kite Runner is the story of two boyhood friends, Amir and Hassan, who have a somewhat odd relationship, due to the fact that Hassan is the son of Amir's father's servant, therefore making Hassan a servant of Amir, as well. The two fit together well, until Hassan's act of devotion to Amir causes him to be assaulted while Amir watches helplessly from a distance (without anyone knowing he's there). The two become separated right before Khabul falls to the Russians, when Amir and his father escape to America.

Fast forward a decade, or so, and Amir receives a phone call from a mutual friend, Rahim, in Pakistan, who tells him the sad news of Hassan's death. Hassan has a son, though, and Rahim begs Amir to come to Pakistan, gain entry into Afghanistan, and risk his life to rescue the boy from the radical Islamic fundamentalists who have kidnapped him, and killed his family.

The Kite Runner is an epic story, without a doubt. Taking place over a long period of time, throughout many countries, and dealing with very real and relatable issues, the film is a testament to author Khaled Hosseini's understanding of growing up and being a man in that part of the world. Forster uses Amir's story to explore concepts of bravery and tradition which are, often times, forgotten in western films when it comes to the Middle Eastern culture, or are simply portrayed as cliche's.

What can you really say about a film like this, other than that it is pitch perfect. The Kite Runner is an amazingly well-realized film that brings to life so many things about a culture that many of us don't understand, because we just don't have very in depth or accurate representations of it. The fact that, in Khabul in the 70's, society was much like America or parts of Europe, is something I never would have known, but, historically, it was. Before the Soviet invasion of the area, it was an incredibly bustling place. To see it, currently, and feel like your stepping back in time a hundred years, because of the destruction and terror that the Soviet's and Radical Islam has brought to that area of the world... It really makes you feel bad for the people who are subject to that kind of tyranny.

The Kite Runner didn't jerk a tear out of me, but it was still an incredible film, and left me feeling like there is hope in the world, and that, even though tyranny and terrorism are still very real things in our society, good CAN prevail.

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