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Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Kite Runner

Have you ever watched a movie and found yourself so touched by the experience? Have you ever seen a film that leaves you so completely moved you cannot stop thinking about it? Have you ever watched scenes that haunt your thoughts? Have you ever heard a story that fills your soul with so much emotion? Have you ever listened to a narration that makes you feel like it has gone right through you and touched your heart?

Today, I did. I watched a movie called “The Kite Runner” and am completely mesmerized by the story, the images, the plot, the music, the actors and their dialogue. It is by no means a high-budget blockbuster. It does not boast of an all star cast nor of any high-tech computer generated images. There are no incredible stunts, no slapstick comedy routines, no scenes filled with violence , and no racy nude scenes. In fact it seems the movie was filmed in third-world locations, featured unknown actors, and was not made with a huge Hollywood budget. And yet, the story’s poignant emotions and honest sentiments came across loud and clear.

The film is based on the book of the same title. I read the book two years ago and was equally moved. The story revolves around two boys born to two very different circumstances. Amir, is a Pashtun, born to a superior life of wealth and privilege. While Hassan, is born a Hazara, a shunned ethnic community, and is the son of Amir’s father’s servant. Their lives are intertwined but later the differences in their fates force them apart. Their story reflects the tragedies of Afghanistan, the country where they are both born and raised. Incidentally, the book is the first Afghan book to be written in English. I must say that this is certainly an auspicious beginning.

Without giving out any spoilers, The Kite Runner is a story about friendship, betrayal, and the chances one has to redeem oneself throughout the course of one's life. It is a story about the bond between a father and son, the camaraderie of brothers, and the emotional ties between a man and his homeland. Reading the story brought about images in my mind of a rich and beautiful culture steeped with a tragic history and yet mired with never-ending hope. Reading about Amir and Hassan’s life and what they had to go through forces me to think about life beyond the comforts of my own.

Many times I have enjoyed a book so immensely, only to be disappointed by its motion picture counterpart. This was not the case with “The Kite Runner”. If anything, I am impressed that the essence of the book was not lost when it made its way to the big screen. I am glad that the emotional turmoils Amir and Hassan's characters went through were depicted well. I am equally glad that the political turmoil of the Afghan people served as a wonderful backdrop to the the story rather than becoming an opportunity for political grandstanding. This is truly one instance wherein the film version truly brought the pages of the novel to life. I would highly recommend both the book and the movie to anyone who is looking for a powerful yet immensely gratifying narrative.

For more information on the movie, you can click here, The Kite Runner, movie.

For more information on the book, you can click here, The Kite Runner, novel.

For more information on the author, you can click here, Khaled Hosseini.

Also recommended is Hosseini’s second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, which is equally moving.


mom said...

Good movies are hard to come by. Your rave reviews of the Kite Runner makes this a must see for me.

leslie ty said...

Jo...I watched it already...I can't remember when and where...but I actually remembered the movie when I was reading your blog. I's a good movie...I cried a lot watching that film.

Can you also make a Harry Potter movie review?
i'm serious =)

Joanne said...

Mom, you guys have a copy of The Kite Runner on DVD. I saw it in your room before I left. Don't know if it's still there though. It's a really good movie. Sad ... but in a good way ...

Les, glad you liked it din. As for reviewing Harry Potter, I'll try. Wasn't planning to see it kasi. To be honest I don't like Harry Potter (movies and books).
* I can hear the cry of outrage from all the Harry Potter fans!