Marc Forster, the director of The Kite Runner (2007) was born and raised in West Germany in 1969. In 1990 Forster moved to New York to attend NYU’s film school. According to cineaste.com, Forster was asked “You seemed to have a real understanding for the immigrant portion of the story, when Baba and Amir come to America.” Forster was an immigrant himself and when reading the story, he could relate to it. Just like how Amir’s father was so successful and wealthy in Afghanistan, he was the opposite when he moved to California.
Forster related to this by saying “I loved that part of the book. Sometimes, especially in California, you can be talking to a valet—I love talking to people—and you find out he’s from Russia and he has three PhDs. and he’s a valet here. And another one is a nuclear scientist and he’s washing your car. You have these very distinguished people with these strange jobs you’d never imagine someone like them doing.” Cineaste, another aspect that affected Forster’s approach to the film was the fact that he wanted to keep the film rated PG-13.
“One thing is that I always intended that the film be PG-13. I had to restrain myself, because it was important to me that the film reach a younger audience.” One issue Forster had to deal with was the stereotypes of Afghanistan. Since the story was set in the Middle eEast, Forster had to be careful with the way he directed the violence scenes because people often think about Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban and terrorism. “It was the first time I read a story from there, which starts out with the people and not violence and terror. It was important to me to keep the violence restrained, because it’s only a part of the story.
Those scenes are story points that move the film forward, but they’re not the main focus. That’s not what the movie is about; it’s about something else.” Marc Forster does not only direct films like The Kite Runner which is classified as a historical fiction/drama. He directs movies with different genres like Fantasy, Animation, Comedy, Thriller, Horror, Adventure, Action, Crime Fiction, Romance, and even Supernatural. After researching which type of genres he has directed, I found that in most cases one movie can have a couple different genres.
Some of his other films like Christopher Robin (2018) are an animation, comedy, fantasy, and a musical film. It is clear to see that Forster does not have a target audience, instead directs movies for all types of audiences. Marc Forster shared with moviemaker.com, seven of his golden rules to making award winning performances, Oscar-Nominated films, genre-bending and attaining blockbuster success. In these seven golden rules he talks about and relates directing a movie to telling a story. “Life is about fluidity, and so is the process of storytelling…. The focus should always be to keep looking for what is not visible, to keep striving for the image beyond the words.” I thought the film The Kite Runner (2007) related especially to Forster’s first golden rule because in the film itself Amir’s story is being told.
The film deals with the country of Afghanistan during the 1970s to the year 2002; spanning from the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy to the atrocities of the Taliban. From 1933-1973, Afghanistan was a monarchy ruled by King Zahir Shah. On July 17, 1973, when the king was on vacation, Mohammad Daoud Khan seized power. The military coup was nearly bloodless, but as we see through Amir’s story, it was still a frightening time for the people of Kabul who heard rioting and shooting in the streets.
Mohammad Daoud Khan was President and Prime Minister of Afghanistan for 6 years before he was violently overthrown by the PDPA, People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan on April 27, 1978. Cultural elements during this time were those of the men in this culture to be raised strong and powerful not weak and scared. Amir’s father questions his strength as a young boy and Amir hears his father admit this. Eventually Amir himself believes and realizes he is a coward when he betrays Hassan, who is then sexually brutalized by older bullies. Amir’s shame in not helping Hassan drives a wedge between them.
I believe that the acting of the characters in the movie was completely believable. I don’t think anything could make the acting better. Specifically, when Amir witnessed Hassan being raped and didn’t interfere. The action of being a bystander is an issue that most have faced and if not, something that we are all taught at a young age. It was clear that Amir wasn’t going to stand up for Hassan.
The three older boys were the same ones that had tried to bully them earlier in the film. Amir knew that if he interfered, they would hurt him too. After that event took place, Amir was ashamed that he didn’t help his friend, so he tried to separate himself from Hassan. He would eventually take his watch that his Baba gave to him as a present for his birthday and he would hide it under Hassan’s blanket. He lied to his dad about where it went then had his father question Hassan about it.
Despite seeing that Amir placed it under the blanket himself, Hassan admitted to stealing it. Hassan’s loyalty to Amir made his character so much more likeable. It was clear that Amir was mostly concerned with himself and his safety. I also think that Amir’s dad (Baba) played his part well. It was interesting to see how his attitude and personality changed throughout the film. In the beginning of the film at 00:09:20 until 00:10:19 Baba was criticizing his son’s manliness, saying that he couldn’t stand up for himself and that he needed Hassan to fight his battles.
A little later we see Baba’s attitude change when Amir and Hassan win the Kite fight. He then feels proud of his son. We can see this when he starts waving his finger in the air as his son is about to cut the final kite line in the air. I can honestly say that I am surprised with Amir’s father. I also believe there is excellence in his acting. I first thought this when he stood up to the Russian soldier when he wanted to take advantage of the lady in the truck. He also learned to accept his son and died peacefully seeing that Amir and his wife were happy. When the film first started it seemed like Baba was just another powerful boring guy. However, when we saw their new life they had in America Baba looked happy.
Amir narrates all The Kite Runner, except for a small part later in the film, which Rahim Khan takes over. We see the complicated challenges of guilt and jealousy that Amir faces. We also see the troubles his country is facing through his own story. Amir’s personal story kind of speaks for Afghanistan’s story too. In both stories we see betrayal, personal abuse, and redemption. Most of the people from Afghanistan started to flee the country to Pakistan when the Taliban started terrorizing the Afghani people. Amir was considered one of those people too. Personal abuse also related to both of their stories because during this time anyone who committed a crime according to Allah or the Quran would be stoned to death.
The main colors used in The Kite Runner (2007) are red, blue, and green. Red is used to represent energy, power, strength, desire, love, determination, war and danger. Blue represents depth and stability. It also symbolizes loyalty, trust, confidence, faith, wisdom, intelligence and heaven. In the expository scene of their close friendship and interdependency, we can see Hassan wearing blue. Green is used to represent growth, freshness, fertility and the religion of Islam. In this film we see the use of bird’s eye view, long shot, wide shot, close ups, mid shot, high angle, and low shots.
I believe that the shots bring us into the action, especially during the kite flying scenes and the scene of Baba standing up to the Russian soldier. The bird’s eye view shot, and the low shot is used when Amir and Hassan fly the kites. During this part of the film the shot is taken from a lower level looking up at the sky where the kite is. At that time Amir and Hassan are looking up as well. This bring us into the action because we are seeing thing from their perspective
There are shift in the pacing of shots in this film. One of the first cuts shown in the film occurs at 00:16:45. Right before the straight cut, Amir and Hassan are talking about one of the stories that Amir wrote. Right after they finish their conversation it cuts right to a shot of pigeons. The film has many jump cuts as well. At 00:21:00, Hassan is picking out a kite at the store, then at 00:21:57 its cuts into the next shot of Amir and Hassan Stretching the line of the kite. These rhythms continue to occur throughout the movie. The editing styles used in this film are linear editing, transitions, and cross cutting.
The film is linear because the film is in order from the beginning, middle, and end of Amir’s life. There is a little non-linear beginning though, when we are shown Amir living in San Francisco. One of the cross-cutting scenes was when Amir is fighting Assef and Sohrab intervenes with his sling shot. I don’t think the editing affected my sense of time, I only got confused a couple times between the straight cuts, but I noticed that the story was just moving on. I think the editing helped me understand the story better. I think that because Amir’s story was linear, I understood everything going around much better especially historical wise. I could associate the history in the story to the background history I have about the Middle East during the same time.
The uniquely used motifs in The Kite Runner (2007) are irony, rape and regressing in time. Amir was told by Rahim Khan when he was witting his stories at a young age that there was irony in them. In the beginning of the film, Baba was calling Amir a coward saying that he would never be able to stick up for himself. When Hassan was getting assaulted, Amir couldn’t stand up for him because of his own fear. But the real irony of the story is that because he didn’t stand up for Hassan, it ended up making him a coward. Rape occurs twice in the film. The first-time being Hassan’s, and the second time was the attempted rape of the woman in the back of the truck. As a motif, rape is important for many reasons.
It not only strips away their dignity but it’s also a physically violent act and destroys the victim’s emotions. In both scenarios rape represented physical and mental domination of Hassan and the lady by those who had power, Assef and the Russian soldier. As the kite was an important prop in the neighing of the film, it remained just as important in the end. When Amir and Hassan were young, they would compete in the kite tournaments with other kids from their country. It was a way for the boys and Baba to bond. After Amir brings Sohrab to America, they go to the park and see many people flying the kites. Sohrab looks up at the sky and watches the kites sail through the wind.
Amir buys a kite and asks Sohrab to help him fly it. The kite was important to Amir when he was younger, now it is important to him because he gets to share it with his nephew like he used to share it with his brother. In the beginning of the film costumes didn’t necessarily define the characters. The kids wore casual clothes and so did most of the adults unless they were wearing their cultural clothing. Later, in the film when the Taliban takes over Afghanistan, it is a rule that everyman must have beard. When Amir goes to rescue Sohrab, he put on a fake beard so the men of the Taliban wouldn’t take him. The beard defined who you were.
Throughout the film there is energetic music for the exciting scenes and more calm music for the more serious scenes. For example, when the boys are hanging out the music is calmer but on the contrary when they begin kite fighting the music becomes faster paced. Since the music is played in the background it is considered non-diegetic. These rhythms are revisited later in the film as well. They are revisited when Baba gets sick, when Amir returns to Afghanistan, and when Sohrab reaches America. The continuance of the non-diegetic music is considered thematic because it is relating to parts in the film. The significance of the music in the film makes it easier for the audience to be emotionally involved. When fast paced music is being played, it represents a positive scene in the film and the opposite for calm and mellow music.
The film is told from Amir’s perspective which is first person. The story begins in San Francisco when Amir gets a phone call from Rahim khan asking him to come back to Afghanistan. Then we are brought to Amir’s childhood where we begin to learn about his childhood. It continues through Amir’s life until he is asked to adopt Sohrab. When Amir arrives in Afghanistan and meets Rahim, Rahim tells him that Hassan had been killed and hands him a letter. The letter was from Hassan since he had learned to read and write by then. Rahim informs Amir that Hassan and his wife were killed but their son Sohrab was still alive an in an orphanage.
He tells Amir that he needs to save the boy, but Amir doesn’t seem to like the idea. Rahim proceeds to tell Amir that Hassan was his brother and that Sohrab is his nephew. Amir then feels that it is his obligation to find Sohrab and give him the best life that he can. This backs up the theme of being loyal. Amir is repaying Hassan for the sacrifices he made by giving his son a chance at a better life. This narrative is considered a formalistic narrative because it highlights the themes from the storyline.
I believe others should see this movie because there are so many lessons you can take from it. Seeing this film will make you have a better insight on life and be thankful for what you have. There are also things you could learn about Middle Eastern culture from that time. I liked the heartfelt ending. After Hassan and his wife were killed, Amir was called back to Afghanistan to take their son from the orphanage back to America. At this time, he also found out that he and Hassan were actual brothers. I felt that it was Amir’s duty to take care of that boy seeing as how Hassan was always there for Amir.
I did however dislike Amir’s character, at least when he was younger. I really disliked that he was only concerned with himself. I felt angry with him because he never defended Hassan. It seemed unfair that Hassan always stood up for and stayed loyal to Amir, but Amir could never repay the favor. The issues that the film presented were the ones of rape, loyalty, and the love and tensions between father and son. Amir’s relationship with his father is very complicated.
It is obvious that Baba loves Amir, but Amir feels that his father does not fully love him. Achieving his father’s full love meant so much to him that it caused him not to interfere with Hassan’s rape. He wanted to bring home the kite to Baba so he could be proud of his son. So, Amir betrayed his loyalty to Hassan just to hear that his father was proud of him for winning the tournament. The things I learned from this film are to protect the ones that I love, not to be embarrassed of my family or friends and to enjoy life.
I learned that you should appreciate the people in your life for who they are and what their passions are and to just be the best supporter I can be. In the beginning of the film when Baba was calling his son weak, I felt sympathetic for Amir. When he won the tournament, his dad was proud so it seemed like their relationship would make progress, which it did. I believe that it is important to secure your parents love, but I believe that doing the right thing should come before that. There are plenty of ways to make your parents proud of you, and most of the time doing the right thing will make them proud.
- Koresky, Michael. “The Kite Runner.” Reverse Shot, 7 Dec. 2007, www.reverseshot.org/reviews/entry/1962/kite_runner.
- Clamen, Stewart. “The Kite Runner.” Lucy (2014) Movie Review – MRQE, 2010, www.mrqe.com/movie_reviews/the-kite-runner-m100036070.
- Forster, Marc. “Wisdom Wednesday: Marc Forster’s Seven Golden Rules of Moviemaking by Marc Forster.” MovieMaker Magazine, 21 Sept. 2013, www.moviemaker.com/archives/blogs/blog-test/wisdom-wednesday-marc-forster-seven-golden-rules/.
- Hamid, Rahul. “Adapting The Kite Runner: An Interview with Marc Forster.” Cineaste Magazine, 2007, www.cineaste.com/winter2007/adapting-the-kite-runner-an-interview-with-marc-forster/.