Sunday, 7 October 2007
When a much beloved book gets the movie screenplay treatment there are usually a lot of questions. Will the movie talent involved be able to transfer the story to the big screen? Will too much from the book get cut out? Should it be done at all?
With “The Kite Runner” there are these, plus a whole lot more.
The movie tells the story of Amir, a well-to-do boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, who is haunted by the guilt of betraying his childhood friend Hassan, the son of his father's 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 refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the Taliban regime.
Right from those words there will be detractors for the film. People do not want to see the humanity of their ‘enemy’, and will dismiss what the film is saying. It is easier to hate a people when you only know of the evil few.
Added to this you have a cast of unknowns. Do people want to see a film if they do not have Brad Pitt or Nicole Kidman to gaze upon?
Then you have the films biggest hurdle. Child rape. This is one of the ugliest sides of the human race, yet it happens. We would all like to stick our heads in the sand and not deal with the ugly, but it is there, and we need to eventually breath.
The family of the young actor is concerned that the inclusion of the rape scene will result in torment for the young actor by his schoolmates and other Afghans.
There was pressure to cut the scene, but it is what the entire story is based around and the film would fall apart without it.
Marc Forster is a very capable (and rather dishy) director, and I doubt he will give into threats and pressure. The film, if it gets seen, should bring a much needed voice to the Afghan people.
Advance word is very positive, but the film needs raves and I mean shout to the high heaven raves to even make a blip on the awards race.
Basically this film is going to have to be twice as good as all the others to be considered worthy. It is going to need decent ($50 mil) box office and some precursor attention, plus a celebrity endorsement (come on Oprah…this is right up your alley).
In other words, no matter how good the movie is, it will need a lot of outside attention-seeking bells and whistles.
Posted by Michael Parsons at 17:00