The best selling book about Afghanistan, the Kite Runner, is being made into a movie.

Like every “good” filmmaker, the producers are putting in the graphic child rape scene. After all, look at all that free publicity for raping little girls in the films, and look at all those awards for Brokeback Mountain. Let’s go furthur.

Well, one more film to be watched on a DVD where I can fast forward and even edit the scenes out before I reburn the disc.

I’m an old fuddy duddy. A lot of these gratuitous sex and violence actually take away from the human story that is the core of any good movie. Does that mean the movie has to be G rated? No. But discipline in movie making makes much better art than the “in your face” stuff of modern films, where the story line stops to show the starlet’s ability to either scream in horror or chirp in ecstasy before you get back to the main story line.

In this case, the rape is at the center of the plot, about two boys growing up in Afghanistan. The rapist becomes a rigid Taliban leader. Fair enough. So the rape is part of the plot. But how graphically do we need to film it to show the horror?

But in this case, the filmmaker, by trying to fit the story into today’s “in your face” sexual standards, is endagering the film’s child star.

The BBC reports:

The family of a boy involved in a controversial film about Afghanistan say that the movie’s distributors are evacuating them from the country.

The family says that the makers of The Kite Runner believe the measure is necessary for their own safety.

The New York Times newspaper says Paramount Vantage is arranging for three families to go and live abroad, and is delaying the film’s release….

The families of the child complained they did not know about the rape scene in the book, but the producers said nonsense, the parents were told about it….and we all know that film producers are well known for their honesty.

And the rape scene was filmed in a sensitive manner, claim film makers, and the families were warned that the movie contained “challenging scenes”. So why should the parents object?

Why indeed. And when unsophisticated villagers don’t understand that fiction and acting is not real, it’s their fault, not the fault of the producer.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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