Film Form

Films – The Kite Runner directed by Marc Forster

When discussing film form we are talking mostly about structure and theme. Who’s perspective are we getting? What ideas will be put forward? How will the narrative play out? In what order will we be shown the events? How will the occurrences be shaped by a line of action and connected by theme?

In The Kite Runner, we are first introduced to the main character (Amir) in the USA in 2000. After watching kids play with kites in the park with his wife, he is at home and receives a phone call that is quite obviously going to change his life. We then travel back in time to 1978 in Afghanistan. We see kids playing kites and quickly establish that this is him as a child.

In the scenes following, the relationship between Amir and his best friend Hassan is explored deeply. Themes of rich/poor are the class division are explored and although the boys are close, the fact that the boys are from different backgrounds causes problems between them. Hassan is a simple uneducated boy but fiercely loyal and Amir tests that loyalty in often cruel ways. Firstly he turns his back as Hassan is brutally beaten and raped, then later, because of his own shame he manipulates a situation whereby Hassan is sent away.

Later in the film we cross back to Amir living a new life as an adult in America, but he is soon off back to his homeland on a new journey. He learns that his old friend has been killed and he intends to adopt his son.

Rather than take a linear narrative style, the film jumps regularly between different times and locations to best tell the story. For this reason the film has a good balance as we move from the relative calm of the opening scenes, to the playfulness of childhood  in Afghanistan, to the sadness and loss of his own actions, the relative safeness and love in his new life, then his willingness to risk it all to do the right thing.

The overwhelming theme of the film is that of redemption. Amir has spent his whole life feeling guilt over his past and he has a chance to do something good, something right, something that would have made his old friend proud so he grabs the opportunity with both hands even at his own risk.

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