The Kite Runner
The film The Kite Runner
has been shrouded in controversy the last couple of days following the announcement that the worldwide release has been delayed for at least 6 weeks because of concern that pirate DVD's could flood Afghanistan and spark troubles due to the delicate issues the movie confronts, specifically an upsetting rape scene.
Particular concerns are over the safety of the child stars in the film, each one lives in their native Afghanistan and 6 weeks will allow them to finish their school year and then leave the country if they wish. (more
The film will only get a limited release in December to allow it to qualify for Oscar consideration but its said that it won't be widely available until January, which means for at least 6 weeks only the 500 or so people sat hushed in the Chicago Theatre last night will be honoured to see it because it is a beautiful and moving piece of art. I never read the book
but this is a startling adaptation and an absolute must-see. The Kite Runner is the story of the well to do Amir, who wins his father's respect but then hides an awful secret for which he only exorcises later in life whilst living his new life away from his destroyed homeland.
The movie obviously depicts the kite flying and there are some stunning scenes. Watching the film, it took me back to days on Blackheath as a kid. Kite fighting was huge in Afganistan but has been outlawed by the Taliban.
The childhood scenes between Amir (Zekiria Ebrahimi) and his servant friend Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada) are both tear-jerking and hilarious. In this country Afghanistan rarely gets a mention, hopefully this wonderful film will propel this culturally rich but forlorn country into the forefront of people's minds.
The prelude to the film on the opening night of the Chicago International Film Festival
was a long tribute to film critic Roger Ebert
, who is America's very own Barry Norman. Ebert's power over Hollywood in this country should not be underestimated and his television show alongside Richard Roeper is syndicated throughout the world. However for the last few years he has been very ill with cancer of the thyroid and latterly the jaw and has not appeared on the small screen since last summer, although he is now back writing for The Chicago Sun Times
, something he has done for 40 years.
The Kite Runner director Marc Forster plus author Khaled Hosseini and Khalid Abdalla who plays the older Amir in the film, all stood and gave emotional tributes as did other movie types. Ebert is one of Chicago's most famous son's and was presented with a Lifetimes Achievement award.
The 43rd Chicago International Film Festival runs until October 17th.