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Old 10-07-2007, 06:28 PM   #46
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[q]An Afghan emigre returns to his homeland to redeem his sins -- and those of his father -- in "The Kite Runner." With careful nurturing, helmer Marc Forster's richly detailed screen translation of Khaled Hosseini's beloved bestseller should reach beyond the book's many fans. Nuanced perfs and standout production design convey story in cinematic terms, preserving the narrative's emotional power and historical sweep as it spans continents and decades. While the largely unknown cast and subtitled dialogue may present a marketing challenge, they also create a feeling of authenticity in this poignant, intimate epic, which should attract a strong following among discerning audiences.

Paramount Vantage, which is rolling out "The Kite Runner" under its Paramount Classics label, has delayed the pic's release by six weeks owing to a rape scene featuring young Afghan thesp Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada. New release date -- Dec. 14, after the end of the boy's school year -- is a response to expressed fears that he could be attacked for his participation in the scene.

Deft adaptation by David Benioff ("25th Hour," "Troy") condenses cast of characters and events, but incorporates nearly all the novel's major moments, while the dialogue, much of it lifted directly from the page, finds a natural balance between English and Dari delivery. Most noticeable change -- the absence of a first-person narrator -- serves to make the visuals an equal purveyor of narrative information.

Central idea -- that no matter what a person's done in the past, there's an opportunity for a second chance -- provides a universally resonant emotional hook for protag's journey from cowardice to courage.

[...]

Remarkable nonpro child thesps Ebrahimi and Mahmoodzada perfectly embody the ethnic differences and class tensions between Amir and Hassan, as well as the chemistry of brotherhood.

Pic's emphasis on Amir's early relationships leaves relatively little screen time for his wife Soraya (Atossa Leoni) and her parents, characters who further illustrate Afghan traditions of honor and pride.

Shot on location in the Western Chinese desert that borders Afghanistan, the film marks the first use of China to portray another country. Ace widescreen lensing by Roberto Schaefer makes aerial shots of swooping, feinting kites pic's leitmotif.

http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117...goryid=31&cs=1


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Old 10-07-2007, 06:31 PM   #47
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from the LA Times:

[q]As noted in the New York Times, the studio sent an Afghan expert, who is a former member of the CIA, to Afghanistan to check out the issues surrounding the boys' safety.

"People believe there is a variety of opinions about whether or not the boys would be secure if a pirated copy entered the country," Colligan said. "We are taking a pretty conservative approach. If any credible person believes there is a credible risk for them, we are making sure the boys are safe. We moved the release day in case the boys want to serve out their school year."

"Our primary concern is the safety and welfare of the kids," director Marc Forster said Thursday in a phone call from Chicago.

The director said the controversy over the rape scene took him by surprise because the film is rated PG-13 and the scene itself is "impressionistic."

He noted that the father of one of the children who is now complaining never protested while they were in rehearsals.

"It did come out of left field," Forster said of the complaints. "The father of the kid met with the casting director and the producer twice back in Kabul and was informed about the content [of the movie] and the explicit [nature of the rape scene] as well. Then, when he came to China for pre-production, that is when I met the father for the first time." Forster said they showed the father the script along with the book. "We talked about it. We rehearsed the scene twice with the father present and he never said anything."

The director noted that when he cast the film, Afghanistan "was a much safer place. It had the feeling of a new beginning. Now the situation has become much more dangerous and is deteriorating and I think a lot of it is coming from that."
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Old 10-08-2007, 12:08 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
it appears as if i haven't been clear enough and i'm a little surprised at the reduction of my posts to people just needing to "get over" "homophobia."

my understanding, based on the articles i've read, is that these concerns aren't outright homophobia in the manner in which we understand it. these concerns have more to do with the idea that their son is going to be "shamed" on a movie screen...the remorse here, seems to me, to becoming from the parents who feel as if a generally cinematically illiterate culture is going to view their son as actually having been raped. it seems to me that they are playing up the potential for ethnic clashes and looking for ways to either save face, or to get out of Kabul.
Yes, I was probably guilty of overstating for effect there.

The artistic aspect of all this, that much I understand completely and am more or less on the same page as you with. It's just a movie, it's just a story, no real children were raped in the process, and no judgment whatsoever, not even of the symbolic/propagandistic variety, is implied of the actual boy involved, nor his actual family, nor the actual tribe he comes from, nor the actual country of Afghanistan. If anything, one would like to think the actor and his family would be proud at his role in bringing to life a story with the potential to get people thinking, in a culturally and morally sensitive way, about violence and injustice and betrayal and the possibility of redeeming the damage done through compassion and self-reckoning and making amends. One would not like to think that the producers are simply getting milked by the actor's family because they got cold feet at the prospect of him maybe getting taunted a little for 'showing' things (so to speak; I realize the scene isn't graphic) onscreen which most people would be embarrassed to.

I think Viacom is doing the right thing by not taking any chances with the possibility that something worse than cold feet and taunts might result. This is not a Westernized country they're dealing with, it's one of the most poorly understood (by us) and inaccessible cultures in the world, and the ideals for what this film might achieve aren't worth a child getting hurt over. I don't think there's much of a case for doing anything more than that, and I'm not really interested in second-guessing the filmmakers' reasoning for using real Afghan actors at this point. But better safe than sorry where the uncertainties surrounding the possible repercussions for the actors involved are concerned.
Quote:
the "shame" is inextricably linked to homophobia, in that their son would be coded as such for having been the (unwilling, obviously) submissive partner in an anal rape. his weakness is what allowed him to be overpowered by a group of boys, and one boy in particular, and as such he's coded as feminine. or gay. whatever you want to call it. it's homophobia, which, again, is really sexism, the fear or unworthiness or vileness of an effeminate man. is this something the culture needs to "get over"? well, yes, obviously, but obviously it isn't that simple.
This, I guess, is the part where we disagree. Maybe I'm just reading a level into your analysis that isn't really there. But it almost comes across to me as if you're saying, "Look, even if this were a real rape, and/or intentional propagandistic advocacy of what 'boys like him' deserve, it's still unworthy to take great offense at it, because then you're endorsing the homophobic/sexist/whatever notion that this really is something to feel deeply humiliated by." Maybe that's not what you're saying at all, and if so, I apologize for completely missing the point. But if you are, then I just think that's pushing the resist-the-dominant-paradigm envelope too far--analogous to saying that it's unworthy, albeit understandable, for a raped woman to feel deeply traumatized because in doing so, she's inevitably endorsing the sexist notion that her 'honor' or 'integrity' is critically bound up in controlling access to her sexual parts in the first place, in a way and to a degree that preventing someone from e.g. giving her a black eye is not. It just seems like too much to ask. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I don't want to get into a protracted squabble over it...as far as I'm concerned, it really is 'just a movie,' and I'm looking forward to seeing it. I'd feel better doing so though if I knew the actors involved were safe.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:04 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

One would not like to think that the producers are simply getting milked by the actor's family because they got cold feet at the prospect of him maybe getting taunted a little for 'showing' things (so to speak; I realize the scene isn't graphic) onscreen which most people would be embarrassed to.



and based on what i've read, this is exactly what i think is going on and which is why i think expectations of violence are highly exaggerated and done for ... artsitic effect.



Quote:
But it almost comes across to me as if you're saying, "Look, even if this were a real rape, and/or intentional propagandistic advocacy of what 'boys like him' deserve, it's still unworthy to take great offense at it, because then you're endorsing the homophobic/sexist/whatever notion that this really is something to feel deeply humiliated by." Maybe that's not what you're saying at all, and if so, I apologize for completely missing the point. But if you are, then I just think that's pushing the resist-the-dominant-paradigm envelope too far--analogous to saying that it's unworthy, albeit understandable, for a raped woman to feel deeply traumatized because in doing so, she's inevitably endorsing the sexist notion that her 'honor' or 'integrity' is critically bound up in controlling access to her sexual parts in the first place, in a way and to a degree that preventing someone from e.g. giving her a black eye is not. It just seems like too much to ask. Does that make sense?

spelled out like that, it does make sense, and, no, it's not what i had in mind at all, though it does give me some interesting food for thought. that's too far into the pool of (as you say) resist-the-dominant-paradigm radicalism than i'm wiling to go, despite how fun it is to think in radical terms and to deconstruct even notions of "rape" or whatever.

what i think i've been trying to say is that the parental *objection* to the cinematic depiction of their son's *character's* rape on screen is something that needs to be gotten over. it is a story. it is not real. it was not happening to their son. it was happening to their son's character who is imaginary. it reminds me of the great pains that Will Smith and Anthony Michael Hall went to in order to make absolutely positively sure that everyone knew that they were absolutely positively straight after filming "6 Degrees of Separation" (where Will Smith is really very, very good, btw), talk about how, "the kissing scene was the hardest thing i've ever had to do," talk is so ... well, it's exasperating, and insulting, as if kissing a man were equivalent to having to portray, say, the rape of a child on screen.

this is the attitude that i'm sensing from the parents, and i feel as if the cultural relativism card is being overplayed and it will probably result in a ticket to Los Angeles and a decent apartment in West Hollywood for these families. i'm not saying it doesn't exist, or that it isn't at all a concern, it just seems overplayed, and based on the articles i've read, the thoughts of violence ripping apart the country in response to a film that's not even going to be released there seem, to me, to be much a do about nothing.

and the other thing that frosts me about all of this is that i think the movie -- it's getting glowing reviews so far -- really could be an "Important" movie and work wonders towards getting the Western masses to better understand central Asian cultures and to pay attention to a part of the world that's so critical to how the world works right now. and, most importantly, to give name and face and body and life to the masses who were once semi-dismissed as "we can't bomb them back to the Stone Age, they're already there."



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I'd feel better doing so though if I knew the actors involved were safe.
and my understanding is that they are.
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