Wednesday, March 05, 2008

KITE RUNNER Releasing on DVD

Author Hosseini and Director Forster at L.A. Premiere

THE KITE RUNNER is scheduled for DVD release, 25 March. It has had only a limited release in the U.S., beginning 14 December, dates depending upon where you live. It has never made it to my neck of the woods, so I am excitedly awaiting the DVD.

THE KITE RUNNER (USA) is based on the 2003 novel of the same title by Afghani Khaled Hosseini, now a U.S. citizen and California resident. The awarding-winning book was at the top, or on the New York Times best-seller list for almost three years. Director Marc Forster (FINDING NEVERLAND, 2002) chose to film in China in five languages: English, Dari (an Afghan language), Pashtu, Urdu, and Russian. For the U.S. scenes, filming was in northern California.

Hosseini's novel covers three decades of Afghan strife, from before the Soviet invasion through the rise of the Taliban. The protagonist is Amir, a wealthy Pashtun boy (played in movie by Zekiria Ebrahimi), who returns from America to Afghanistan after the Taliban are routed. There, he had formed a bond with a young boy his age, Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada), the Hazara son of Amir’s father’s servant. Hassan was raped in an alley by a Pashtun bully. Amir witnessed the rape, but never told. Later, also witnessed Sohrab, a Hazara boy played by Ali Danish Bakhty Ari, being preyed upon by a Taliban official, and never told. Now, back in Afghanistan, Amir must confront his past by finding Hassan, and in the process, Amir finds much more.

There are two reasons the movie was mostly filmed in China. One, the war in Afghanistan had destroyed any hopes of finding a location suitable for filming as so much is simply rubble. Two, the boy actors received death threats because of the rape scene, so the production company (DreamWorks SKG), and releasing company (Paramount Pictures) arranged to send them, plus a guardian for each, to the United Arab Emirates for their safety. Consequently, the release date was moved from November to December.

The young actor who played Hassan, Ahmad Kahn Mahmoodzada, won the Broadcast Film Critics Association's Critics Choice Award as best supporting actor, awarded 7 January in Santa Monica, CA. The movie was nominated for a Golden Globe for best foreign film, and film score by Alberto Iglasias. It won neither. The film score was nominated for an Oscar, but that category was won by Dario Marianelli for ATONEMENT. I repeat from a previous post, I love that name!

Unfortunately, the movie was released too late, and too limited, to compete in any 2007 major film festivals. No awards, no "buzz," and vice versa.

Hosseini's current novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, was well received and resided on the best-seller for a month, or more. It is also set in Afghanistan. Instead of two Muslim boys who become men, it is about two Muslim women and their trials in Afghani society.

For more posts about this movie, click the "Kite Runner" label at bottom of this post.

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