Afghan History & Politics in The Kite Runner Film Essay (Movie Review)
The Kite Runner drama film depicts the events that took place in Afghanistan since the early 1970s from the perspective of the main protagonist Amir Qadiri. Reviewing the contents of this film, the viewers have an opportunity to overview the recent events that took place in Afghanistan to better understand the state of political and social life. An interesting aspect is that the film begins with the glimpses of peaceful life in the country when the upcoming struggles of endless war are not yet familiar to the local people.
The viewers begin to become acquainted with the film’s main characters when they are mere children, and when they have no slightest idea about the hard lot the life has prepared for them. The following film review aims to observe the strengths and weaknesses of this film as an informative resource for the students of the political and historical background of Afghanistan.
The Kite Runner film relates a story of an Afghanistan man, named Amir Qadiri, who feels guilty because he left his motherland and his close friend Hassan and became a refugee in Pakistan and then immigrants in the United States. The events of the film seem to be divided by the event of Soviet invasion: at the first part, the audience sees a peaceful life with its minor issues and daily troubles, but later the whole new period begins when millions of people become pushed to leave their houses in the home country and escape as refugees. For the people who continue to live in their homeland, life becomes hard.
When one day Amir returns to visit his father’s friend Rahim Khan, he learns that the new country’s leaders, the Taliban, are cruel and unjust. They act with prejudice over the minority groups of Hazara and Tajiks robbing them of their possessions and persecuting them in other ways. Amir learns that the Taliban killed his friend Hassan and left alive only his son Sohrab. All of a sudden, Amir learns that apart from being his best friend of childhood, Hassan was his half-brother. After learning about the hardships that Sohrab is facing because of his ethnic identity, Amir decides to adopt him. The film ends with a peaceful picture of Amir and Sohrab flying a kite in the peaceful atmosphere of San Francisco and with good hope for the future.
The opening scene of The Kite Runner movie is set in San Francisco in the year 2000. The viewers get familiar with a writer of Afghanistan-American ethnic background Amir Qadiri and his wife Soraya. The characters are shown as they are watching kids flying kites at a bayside park. After their small rout, the couple returns home, where the husband finds the packages with his upcoming novel “Season for Ashes” published by a local printery. The wife speaks of this novel as of Amir’s child, giving an audience a hint that they are not able to have their child. The main events of the film begin here when suddenly a friend of Amir’s father from his motherland is calling1.
To fully grasp the value of experiences shown in The Kite Runner, a viewer should become cognizant of the main glimpses in the history of Afghanistan as well as the historical and political twists and turns that took place in the country beginning from the year 1979 when the country was invaded by the Soviets2. Before the year 1979, Afghanistan was a quite stable country in Asia with ancient history and its unique culture and ethnic background.
The ethnic structure of the country population is another interesting fact that is of importance for understanding the plot of The Kite Runner. The main nations populating Afghanistan are Pashtuns, Tajiks, and Hazaras3. Pashtuns are the leading ethnic group that traditionally occupies the man positions and possesses the major authority. Tajiks and Hazaras are inferior nations. People belonging to the nations mentioned above serve as the support personnel for Pashtuns.
The Main Protagonist
The main protagonist of The Kite Runner and simultaneously, its narrator is Amir, a representative of the leading Pashtun ethnic group4. Amir was born in Kabul in 1963 in the family of a wealthy and well-respected man, Agha Sahib. Amir acquired a brilliant education and immigrated to the United States after facing the political changes in his home country. Viewing the character of the main protagonist from the prism of historical light, Amir seems to be a witness of hardships both insider and outsider ones that the country of Afghanistan has faced. On the on hand, the life of Amir, a Pashtun man, reveals the problems of ethnic enmity in Afghanistan, on the other hand, Amir’s persona and his living experience help see the trials in his country has faced at the international arena.
The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Film as an Informative Source
An obvious strength of The Kite Runner film as an informative source is its effort to overview the historical events that took place in Afganistan beginning from its peaceful and prosperous times, and ending with the time of war, political instability and terror. This aspect of this film art piece undoubtedly makes it an interesting agenda. As for the weaknesses, it should be noted that although the film dedicates much of its attention to the problem of ethnic enmity between Pashtun and Hazara, it does not fully reveal the issues that stand behind such cruelty and animosity. The question of why Assef acts with such a degree of utter hostility remains in the mind of numerous viewers after watching The Kite Runner5.
In conclusion, it should be pointed out that the film The Kite Runner presents a thought-provoking framework for observing historical, political, and ethnic issues of Afghanistan. An important aspect of the political studies is that the film begins with the glimpses of peaceful life before the war, terror, and instability arise, and shifts to the detailed depiction of the changes that take place. Watching this film, the viewers have an excellent opportunity to overview the new historical events that took place in the country to better understand the peculiarities of its political and social life.
Dan, Susan. “A Study of the Kite Runner from the Perspective of Cognitive Poetics.” Foreign Language and Literature (2014): 1-10.
Khan, Muhammad Usman. “The Kite Runner-A Historical Novel or Stereotyping Propaganda against Pashtun Majority of Afghanistan?” International Journal of Research (2014): 452-462.
Malik, Muhammad Asghar, Ghulam Murtaza, and Kazim Shah. “Representation of Power Relationships in The Kite Runner.” US-China Foreign Language (2014): 17.
The Kite Runner. Directed by Mark Foster. 2007. Universal City, C.A.: DreamWorks Pictures, 2008. DVD.
- The Kite Runner, directed by Mark Foster. 2007. Universal City, C.A.: DreamWorks Pictures, 2008. DVD.
- Muhammad Usman Khan. “The Kite Runner-A Historical Novel or Stereotyping Propaganda against Pashtun Majority of Afghanistan?” International Journal of Research (2014): 462.
- Ibid., 461
- Susan Dan. “A Study of the Kite Runner from the Perspective of Cognitive Poetics.” Foreign Language and Literature (2014): 10.
- Muhammad Asghar Malik, Ghulam Murtaza, and Kazim Shah. “Representation of Power Relationships in The Kite Runner.” US-China Foreign Language (2014): 17.
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