Arianna & Huffington Post organized a special screening of the new film "The Kite Runner" on the Paramount lot last night which we attended. This film is based on the remarkable book by Khaled Hosseini, which chronicles the rapid and heartbreaking changes in Afghanistan in the last 20 years, starting with the fall of the Afghan monarchy, continuing with the Russian invasion, and ending with the rule of the Taliban. All this is told through the story of a young boy, who escapes with his father to Pakistan and then America, but who has to return to Kabul as an adult to finish some surprising, and dangerous business.
Here is the wikipedia entry about the book, and here's the entry for the film.
The films is really 3 stories: Amir, the young boy of privilege but not courage, who eventually finds the strength to atone for his earlier shame and take charge of his life; the recent history of Afghanistan and its invaders; and finally, the brutality of the Taliban, and the hypocrisy that seems to be a part of all totalitarian regimes.
This last part is the most politically relevant today, as many in the US seem to feel that Taliban isn't that harsh or dominant in that region. And while many here also tend to confuse the 2 major -stans with each other, Pakistan is shown to be much different from Afghanistan. Of course, artistic license may affect the presentation. Still, the differences are startling.
Mark Kleiman, fellow L.A. blogger who also saw the film, posts this about it:
From a commercial perspective, the political timing of the film wasn't ideal. In its unblinking depiction of the disgusting viciousness of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, The Kite Runner could have been the Casablanca of the Global War on IslamoFascismoTerrorismo Nastitude. That's not the message most likely to resonate with the moviegoing public right now; the people who would otherwise like to hear it won't want to be reminded of the way the Bush Administration took its eye off the ball in Afghanistan, allowing the Taliban resurgence, in order to invade and occupy Iraq.
In case anyone has forgotten, the Taliban has had its share of US support. Recognize the guy on the right, the only one smiling because he's holding a butch, manly rifle?
Yep, it's Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). Bastard.
It's due to be in theaters Nov. 2nd. Go see it, don't take young children (PG-13 is really generous, it ought to be R for violence).
Update: Changed title to a better one.