And the first movie viewed of '08 is The Kite Runner. What a way to start the year. This film was a touching look into the lives of the people of Afghanistan, a country that often seems so far removed from us. In the beginning of the film, we see a country full of life and color. Boys are flying colorful kites, wealthy men give grand parties, and there are children running in the streets.
Later in the film, after the war has started, gloom dominates. Kites are outlawed, and the streets are bare of any kind of cheerfulness. All is the Taliban. You could get killed for just about anything: a look, a word, an impropriety. A woman is stoned before an arena of men during half-time in the middle of a soccer game. It would be unimaginable to live in this world without losing a piece of what it means to be a human.
The main story revolves around the lives of two boys. Amir is the son of a wealthy landowner; Hassan is what they call a Hazara boy, obviously a class that is looked down upon by the "purebred." They are best friends and will forever by connected by larger forces of which they will be unaware until the end of the film.
Together, they are an unstoppable kite flying team. This is mostly because of Hassan, who has a knack for knowing which direction the wind will go. A terrible event happens which deeply wounds both boys and causes Amir to resent Hassan, severing the friendship for at least a decade. Then the war comes, and everything changes. Years later, Amir gets a chance to "be good again," by doing for Hassan's son what he could not do for Hassan.
Go see The Kite Runner. It is definitely a difficult film to watch, but I think is has the power to breakdown cultural walls. Oh, and look for the cameo of the film The Magnificent Seven.