Magazine article Newsweek International

Blowing in the Wind

Magazine article Newsweek International

Blowing in the Wind

Article excerpt

Byline: Lorraine Ali

The film adaptation of 'The Kite Runner' is a model of cross-cultural collaboration.

Khaled Hosseini's 2003 novel "The Kite Runner" introduced Western readers to an Afghanistan beyond the Soviet invasion, Osama bin Laden and U.S. military strikes. By focusing on the complicated relationship between an Afghan boy and his father, and the bond between two childhood friends in Kabul, it illuminated the humanity behind the politics and showed the world that Afghans laugh as well as cry. The book has since sold more than 8 million copies worldwide -- not including millions of bootleg editions in such languages as Farsi.

This week the long-awaited screen adaptation of "The Kite Runner" opens in America; it will be released across much of the rest of the world over the next few months. The film, like the book, follows the unlikely friendship between the wealthy Pashtun boy Amir (Zekiria Ebrahimi) and his friend Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada), the Hazara son of the family servant. Pashtuns are Sunni and make up Afghanistan's ruling party, while the Hazara, Shia Muslims of Mongolian descent, are largely discriminated against. The two boys are inseparable until one day, following their victory in a kite-fighting tournament, Amir betrays the loyal Hassan with an act of cowardice that haunts them for the next three decades. Their story of love, remorse and atonement is set against the 1979 Soviet invasion, the Afghan diaspora and the rise of the Taliban in Kabul. …

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