January 31st, 2008

I went to see "The Kite Runner" today.

I went to see "The Kite Runner" today. It's the story of an Afghan-American who grew up flying kites in Kabul with his best friend (and his less pro-western family). When the Russians invade (or, as the Russians might argue, move in to stabilize the government), the pro-western family do a runner, leaving the poorer family behind. In the period pre-9/11 but post the Russian departure, the son that ran from the Russians returns, trying to sort out his relationship with the friend he left behind.

It's a strange film and I actually feel I learned something about both pre- and post-invasion Afghanistan and kite flying. During the pre-invasion period, Kabul is presented as a bit of a shoothole (for want of a better word), but also as a place which had a sense of community and which was generally safe (in a loose, Third World sense of the word). By the time he returns, the word 'shoothole' is the only word that describes it.

It was a sad film, but gave a balanced view (I think) of the effect of the Taliban (and Russians) on the country and the people who remained there.

Incidentally, it's dubbed for long periods.