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The Kite Runner

American theatrical release poster
Directed by Marc Forster
Produced by Walter Parkes
Laurie McDonald
Sam Mendes
Sidney Kimmel
Written by Novel:
Khaled Hosseini
Screenplay:
David Benioff
Starring Khalid Abdalla
Zekeria Ebrahimi
Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada
Homayoun Ershadi
Music by Alberto Iglesias
Cinematography Roberto Schaefer
Editing by Matt Chesse
Distributed by DreamWorks
Paramount Vantage
Release date(s) United States:
December 14, 2007
United Kingdom:
December 26, 2007
Australia:
January 17, 2008
Running time 128 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Dari Persian
Budget $20 million
Gross revenue $73,276,047

The Kite Runner is a 2007 film directed by Marc Forster based on the novel of the same name by Khaled Hosseini. It tells the story of Amir, a well-to-do boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, who is tormented by the guilt of abandoning his friend Hassan, the son of his father's Hazara servant. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of the monarchy in Afghanistan through the Soviet invasion, the mass exodus of Afghan refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the Taliban regime.

Though most of the film is set in Afghanistan, these parts were mostly shot in Kashgar, China, due to the dangers of filming in Afghanistan at the time.[1] Much of the film's dialogue is in Dari Persian and English. The child actors are native speakers, but several adult actors had to learn Persian. Filming wrapped up on December 21, 2006, and the film was expected to be released on November 2, 2007. However, after concern for the safety of the young actors in the film due to fears of violent reprisals to the sexual nature of some scenes in which they appear, its release date was pushed back six weeks to December 14, 2007.[2] The Kite Runner was released on DVD on March 25, 2008. A HD DVD release was announced for the same date, but was canceled following the format's demise.

The film was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2007. The film's score by Alberto Iglesias was nominated for Best Original Score at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.

Contents

Plot

In Kabul, before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, well-to-do teenage boy Amir and his very loyal Hazara servant Hassan (the son of his father's servant Ali) are best friends. Amir goes to school, but Hassan does not; as a result, he cannot read. Amir likes literature and reads stories to Hassan. His father Baba (A Persian term similar to "papa" in English) thinks he is not tough enough, Amir lets Hassan protect him when he is bullied. Amir worries that Baba does not like him because Amir's mother died giving birth to him.

Amir also writes a story himself. Amir’s father is not very interested, but his friend Rahim Khan reads it and encourages him.

One day Hassan and Amir come across Assef, a bully with rancor towards Hazaras, and his two friends. He prepares to fight Amir and Hassan, but Hassan threatens him with his slingshot. They back off but Assef warns them that he will take revenge.

Amir and Hassan like kite fighting. It is a popular sport in Kabul, in which the lines are coated with a mixture of finely crushed glass and glue, for cutting the line of a competitor. In the competition whoever catches a kite of which the line is cut can keep it. Therefore children run for them. Hassan is the "kite runner" for Amir. He seems to have a gift of knowing where they will land. Amir wins a tournament. Hassan fetches the kite Amir has cut, but runs into Assef and his two henchmen. Assef demands the kite, but when Hassan refuses to give it up, Assef beats and rapes him. While looking for Hassan, Amir approaches this scene, and hiding, watches the rape. He neither defends Hassan, nor calls for help. Amir and Hassan never tell anyone what happened, and do not talk about it among themselves. When Amir comes home he is finally praised by Baba for winning the tournament, but Amir realizes that the opposite would have been the case if Baba had known what had happened.

Amir and Hassan both become emotionally downcast. Amir feels guilty of being a coward, realizing that Hassan was brave; if Baba knew what happened he might love Hassan more than him. Amir decides it would be best if Hassan would leave. He suggests to Baba to hire other servants but Baba angrily refuses. Amir frames Hassan as a thief, and Hassan falsely confesses. Baba forgives him, despite the fact that, as he explained earlier, he believes that "there is no act more wretched than stealing". Ali and Hassan decide to leave, in spite of Baba begging and ordering them to stay.

A short while later, the Soviets invade Afghanistan; since Baba is well-known as an anti-communist, Amir and Baba fled; Rahim Khan will watch over the house. On the way a female refugee is about to be raped by a Soviet soldier; Baba defends her, in spite of Amir's justified fear that Baba will be killed. The soldier's superior prevents harm to the woman and to Baba. The refugees hide in the tank of a fuel truck on the road to Peshawar, Pakistan. After waiting six months, Baba and Amir were granted visas from the Immigration and Naturalization Service and were allowed to relocate to the United States.

They start living in Fremont, California. After having lived in luxury in an expensive mansion in Afghanistan, they now settle in a humble apartment. Baba begins work at a gas station, and Amir goes to community college. Every Sunday, Baba and Amir make extra money selling used goods at a flea market in San Jose. There, Amir meets Soraya Taheri and her family; Soraya is interested in Amir's writing skills, although her father, a former Afghan authority called General Taheri, is contemptuous of them. Baba gets very ill, but is still capable of doing Amir a big favor: he asks the general permission for Amir to marry her. He agrees and the two marry. Shortly thereafter Baba dies, happy for his son's good life, but sadly long from his beloved motherland Afghanistan. Amir and Soraya then learn that they cannot have children. Amir's first novel is published; Amir has dedicated it to Rahim Khan, who (as opposed to Baba) encouraged him as beginning writer.

Amir receives a phone call from Rahim Khan (this is partly already shown at the start of the film, so the rest of what was shown until here was a long flashback), telling him to come to Pakistan, because "there is a way to be good again". (Perhaps he knows that in the past Amir framed Hassan as a thief, or he refers to not keeping in touch with Hassan.) Amir agrees and flies to Pakistan to meet him. Rahim Khan tells Amir that he had hired Hassan as caretaker of Baba's house, and that the Taliban ordered him to give it up and leave, but that he refused, and was killed. His wife desperately attacked them and was killed too. Hassan was actually Amir's half-brother, being an illegitimate son of Baba. Amir is angry for having been deceived all his life. Rahim Khan gives Amir a draft of a letter that Hassan was going to send to Amir: he is sad about what happened to the country and hopes Amir can visit him one day.

The reason that Rahim Khan has called Amir to Pakistan is to go to Kabul where Hassan's son, Sohrab, is believed to live in an orphanage, and to take him out of Afghanistan to give him better living conditions. First Amir is reluctant to go and offers money to have Sohrab brought out of the country by somebody else, but Rahim Khan thinks he should do it himself.

Amir agrees; he returns to Taliban-controlled Kabul with Farid as a guide and driver. Reluctantly Amir follows Farid's instruction to glue on a fake beard, as a beard is compulsory under Taliban rule. When Amir watches a passing Taliban patrol, Farid urges him never to stare at them.

Zaman, the director of the orphanage where Sohrab is supposed to be, tells them that a Taliban official comes once every two months to take a child (usually a girl, sometimes a boy) and bring some money very needed to feed the orphans. Sohrab was one of them. Amir reproaches him for allowing that, but the man says that if he refuses they take ten children, and besides, he needs the money for the remaining children. Reluctantly Amir goes with Farid to a football match (with bearded players) where in the break an adulterous woman is stoned to death, because there he can meet the man who took Sohrab. Amir sets an appointment with this man and meets him at his home. There he finds out that the Taliban official is Assef. Violating the ban on music and dancing, music is played, and Sohrab is introduced to Amir dancing to this music; apparently Assef made him his dance boy. Assef orders his guards to leave the room. Doing what he could not do as a child, Amir stands up to Assef and demands that the boy be released to him. Assef agrees, but as the price Amir has to pay for the boy, Assef attacks Amir brutally. However, Sohrab has the slingshot with him which he got from his father, who got it as a birthday present from Amir long ago. Amir is saved when Sohrab uses it and shoots a brass ball from the base of a turned-over table into one of Assef's eyes. Amir and Sohrab manage to escape the house, and leave with Farid, who waited in the car, while under fire from the guards. Without further complications (though paying a bribe at the border) they leave the country.

Amir returns with the boy to the house of Rahim Khan, but he has died. The traumatized boy runs away from the hotel, but to Amir's relief he returns. He says he feels dirty because of what Assef daily did to him.

Amir takes Sohrab, who is still traumatized and withdrawn, back to Fremont, California. At dinner one night, General Taheri asks why Amir brought "that Hazara boy" back with him. Amir, again showing courage in the face of an overbearing figure, tells the General the truth and insists that he never call Sohrab "that Hazara boy" around him ever again. Later, Amir shows Sohrab the tricks of kite flying. Slowly Sohrab begins to interact with Amir, who enthusiastically runs the kite, saying to Sohrab the phrase Hassan said to Amir in the past: "For you, a thousand times over."

Cast

The three boys were age 11 and 12 at the time of the filming.[3]

Critical reception

Despite receiving a 66% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes, the film has been met with mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film positive reviews, based on 165 reviews.[4] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 61 out of 100, based on 34 reviews. [5]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times named it the 5th best film of 2007.[6]

Ban

The Afghan government has banned the film from movie theaters and DVD stores because of the rape scene and the ethnic tensions and class struggles that the film highlights.[7]

It has also been banned in Morganton, NC due to a paragraph found in the book in which a rape of a young boy is described.[8]

Criticism

Though the child actors enjoyed making the film, they and their families have expressed worries about their situation now that the film is done. Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada (young Hassan) said regarding one scene "I want to continue making films and be an actor but the rape scene upset me because my friends will watch it and I won't be able to go outside any more. They will think I was raped."[3] The scene has been depicted in a less harrowing manner than originally planned: there is no nudity in it, not even underpants are exposed; an attack is shown, and a sexual aspect is suggested only very briefly at the end of the scene, by a trousers buckle being undone, trousers being tugged slightly down, and unzipping a fly. Even for that a body double was used.[9]

Initially Zekeria Ebrahimi (young Amir) and Ahmad Mahmidzada were paid $17,500 each, and Ali Dinesh $13,700; some argue that they were underpaid.[3] Additionally, Ebrahimi has said "We want to study in the United States. It's a modern country and more safe than here in Kabul. If I became rich here I would be worried about security. It's dangerous to have money because of the kidnapping."[3] Paramount then relocated the three boy actors playing Amir, Hassan, and Sohrab—and another with a minor role playing Omar—each accompanied by a relative, to the United Arab Emirates.[10] Reportedly the studio accepted responsibility for the boys' living expenses until they reach adulthood, a cost some estimated at up to 500,000 dollars.[11] After living four months in Dubai, Ebrahimi and his aunt returned to Kabul in March 2008. After threats to his life, Ebrahimi lives indoors and is home-schooled by an uncle. He says he wishes he had never done the movie.[12]

Awards and nominations

Nominations

References

  1. ^ French, Howard W. (31 December, 2006). "Where to Shoot an Epic About Afghanistan? China, Where Else?" (in English). New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/31/movies/31fren.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5088&en=ad87d27aa2736916&ex=1325221200&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  2. ^ AP (5, October, 2007). "'Kite Runner' release delayed to protect young stars" (in English). CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/Movies/10/05/film.kiterunner.ap/index.html. Retrieved 2007-10-05. 
  3. ^ a b c d "'Kite Runner' Boys Fear Afghan Backlash". Rawa News. January 14, 2007. http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2007/01/14/kite-runner-boys-fear-afghan-backlash.html. 
  4. ^ "The Kite Runner - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/kite_runner/. Retrieved 2009-07-19. 
  5. ^ "Kite Runner, The (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/kiterunner. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  6. ^ Roger Ebert (2007-12-20). "The year's ten best films and other shenanigans". Chicago Sun-Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071220/COMMENTARY/176124809. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  7. ^ FOXNews.com - Movie Banned in Afghanistan - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment
  8. ^ ncac.org
  9. ^ "Inside 'The Kite Runner' Rape Scene". Defamer. October 5, 2007. http://defamer.com/hollywood/cultural-exchanges/inside-the-kite-runner-rape-scene-307649.php. 
  10. ^ "Life In The Raw". The Age. January 6, 2008. http://www.theage.com.au/news/film/life-in-the-raw/2008/01/03/1198949988908.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap2. 
  11. ^ "Studio to delay release of Kite Runner to protect Afghan actors". M&C Movies News. October 4, 2007. http://movies.monstersandcritics.com/news/article_1362553.php. 
  12. ^ Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson (July 2, 2008). "'Kite Runner' Star's Family Feels Exploited By Studio". All Things Considered. National Public Radio. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92108198. 
  13. ^ "Hollywood Foreign Press Association 2008 Golden Globe Awards for the year ended December 31, 2007". goldenglobes.org. 2007-12-13. http://www.goldenglobes.org/news/id/81. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Kite Runner (کاغذ‌پران باز - Kāğazparān Bāz) is a 2007 Academy Award-nominated film directed by Marc Forster based on the novel of the same name by Khaled Hosseini.

Contents

Hassan

  • For you, a thousand times over.
    • To Amir, about running a kite. Later Amir says the same thing to Hassan's son Sohrab.
  • I dream

that my son will grow up to be a good person,

a free person. 

I dream that someday you will return to revisit the land of our childhood. I dream

that flowers will bloom 

in the streets again

and kites will fly 

in the skies.

    • Hassan in draft letter to Amir

Amir

  • The mullahs at school say drinking is a sin. They say drinkers will pay when the Reckoning comes.
    • To Baba
  • You see, General Sahib, my father slept with his servant's wife, and she bore him a son named Hassan. Hassan is dead now. That boy sleeping in the other room is Hassan's son. He's my nephew. That's what you tell people when they ask. And one more thing, General Sahib: you will never again refer to him as "a Hazara boy" in my presence. He has a name, and it's Sohrab.
    • Explaining Sohrab's presence to General Taheri
  • He hates me because I killed her. My mother.
    • To Rahim Khan
  • The citizens of Kabul were skeletons now. Skeletons selling naswar in the night market, skeletons drinking cups of strong tea, skeletons playing cards in the moonlight. They greeted me as I passed, teeth clacking together in their jaws. "Salaam, brother," they said. "Welcome home."
    • Reading a story to Baba
  • If we come to sleep

We are His drowsy ones.

And if we come to wake We are in His hands.

If we come to weeping, We are His cloud full of raindrops.

And if we come to laughing, We are His lightning in that moment.

If we come to anger and battle, It is the reflection of His wrath.

And if we come to peace and pardon, It is the reflection of His love.

Who are we in this complicated world?

    • The Poem [1] by Rumi read to Baba originally in Persian language in the movie.

I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.

Amir is talking to himself after he Saves Sohrab From Assef and he is lying in the hospital bed.

Baba

  • There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft....When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.
  • War doesn't negate decency. It demands it, even more than in times of peace.
  • All this talk of sinning is making me thirsty.
  • Fuck the Russia!
    • His toast in an American bar
  • You bring me shame.
    • To Amir
  • I wish Hassan had been with us today. That would make him happy.
  • I piss on the beards of those self-righteous monkeys.
    • Regarding the mullahs, who teach that drinking alcohol is a sin
  • Instead of being a doctor and saving lives, my son wants to make up stories.

Rahim Khan

  • It's a dangerous thing, being born. Dangerous for the mother, dangerous for the child. Your father would die for you.
    • To Amir
  • Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors.
    • To Baba about Amir
  • I see America has infused you with her optimism. But there is such a thing as God's will.
    • To Amir
  • There is a way to be good again.
    • To Amir

Others

  • Afghanistan is the land of the Pashtuns. We're the real Afghans, not this flat-nosed Hazara. His people pollute our homeland. They dirty our blood. If idiots like you and your father hadn't taken these people in, we'd be rid of them.
    • Assef, referring to Hassan and the Hazara people
  • You are among peers. Everyone here is a storyteller.
    • General Taheri to Amir, showing contempt of his writing skills
  • Afghani people and Pakistani people, they are like brothers. Muslims have to help Muslims.
    • Pakistan Taxi Driver
  • They call this area Afghan Town. Sometimes it feels like Peshawar is a suburb of Kabul.
    • Pakistan Taxi Driver

Dialogue

  • Hassan: [Talking about a story Amir wrote] Why did he kill his wife?
    Amir: Because he would cry and his tears would turn into pearls.
    Hassan: But why didn't he smell an onion? (Long Pause)
  • Amir: Would you eat dirt if I asked you to do that?
    Hassan: If you would ask it I would. [pause]
    But you would not ask that, would you?
    Amir: Of course not.
  • Hassan: I like Charles Bronson. Maybe someday we'll go to Iran.
    Amir: Why?
    Hassan: Maybe we'd see him somewhere. I could get his autograph.
    Amir: Charles Bronson's not Iranian.
    Hassan: He's not? So why does he speak Farsi with an Iranian accent?
  • Amir: Baba, have you ever thought about getting new servants?
    Baba: Why would I ever want to do that?
    Amir: [already regretting it] I guess you wouldn't. It was just a question.
    Baba: I grew up with Ali. My father took him in, he loved Ali like his own son. Forty years Ali's been with my family. Forty goddamn years. And you think I'm just going to throw him out? I've never laid a hand on you, Amir, but you ever say that again... You bring me shame. And Hassan... Hassan's not going anywhere. Do you understand? I SAID, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!
  • Baba: Are you ready for your birthday present?
    Hassan: Is it a drawing book?
    Baba: Better!
    Hassan: A toy gun?
    Baba: Better!
  • Baba: Where are you from?
    Dr. Starobin: I grew up in Michigan. Came out here for medical school. Once you get used to that California sunshine...
    Baba: But your family?
    Dr. Starobin: My family? We're originally from Russia. [Baba shoves him away, and is next seen with an Arabic doctor.]
  • Baba: My son, the college graduate.
    Amir: It's just community college.
    Baba: It's college. And someday, Dr. Amir!
  • [Amir is on the phone with Rahim Khan]
    Rahim Khan: You should come home.
    Amir: Home? I don't think now's such a good time.
    Rahim Khan: It is a very bad time, but you should come.
  • Soraya: What do you see?
    Amir: The rest of my life.
  • Assef: You want my advice? Run away. That's what you do best.
    Amir: Not without Sohrab.
  • Amir: Do you remember what these streets smelled like in the old days?
    Farid: Kabob.
    Amir: Lamb kabob.

Cast

External links

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