The article is in the New York Times.
I saw the picture, and made some quick assumptions. My mind says "The movie was about brave boys flying contraband kites in Afghanistan." "Fantastic movie!", I thought. I read on. Racial tension... mhm... childhood betrayal... mhm.... sexual predation..."What?!" My mind raced as I scanned the article once before reading it all the way through... and then I saw it. "At its heart is a friendship between Amir, a wealthy Pashtun boy played by Zekiria Ebrahimi, and Hassan, the Hazara son of Amir’s father’s servant. In a pivotal scene Hassan is raped in an alley by a Pashtun bully. Later, Sohrab, a Hazara boy played by Ali Danish Bakhty Ari, is preyed on by a corrupt Taliban official." A rape scene. Two boys. I was mortified.
The article went on to explain the details of how the movie makers are going to great lengths to protect the young actors from persecution in their own country for appearing in a racially inflammitory movie. It tells of their "heroic" efforts that include CIA involvment, delayed release, their concern over often-pirated DVD's. The producers are going out of their way to move the premiere date until after school ends to protect the boys from shame. And, how if neccessary they will move the boys and their families out of the country. “If we’re being overly cautious, that’s O.K.,” Karen Magid, a lawyer for Paramount, said. “We’re in uncharted territory.”
What I wanted to know was... what on earth is an American movie maker doing making any kind of movie that involves the depiction of a rape of a young Afghan boy? What for?! In great detail the story is told of how the young actor was picked in Afghanistan because the casting director couldn't find an actor in the states, Toronto and the Hague - that he "just wasn't connecting with anybody." The boy and his father complains that the boy was never given a script. Wasn't told until the day of the shooting of the rape scene. Of how his father was there for rehearsal once, but the second time, the boy didn't want his pants pulled down, his buttocks showing... he didn't want to be shown nude. The young boy cried!
"In the final version of the film, the rape is conveyed impressionistically, with the unstrapping of a belt, the victim’s cries and a drop of blood."
Why? What artistic, storytelling necessity is there to have an innocent "play act" a rape scene? A child? Is this not abuse in and of itself? Is it not abuse because they have producers and expensive cameras present? Because Viacom writes their paycheck and some freaks in a writing room call it art... they move forward with the twisted project? And who are these producers patting themselves on the back for their "protective protocol"? They're predators! What kind of man in his right mind will seek out an innocent and say "Today, for a lot of money, you're going to pull down your pants in front of everyone while you and another boy enact a forced sexual scene while grown men and women watch... and record."? THAT'S NOT ART! THAT'S ABUSE!
Our perverted movie monguls marched into Afghanistan snatched up two boys... innocents... and defiled them... and called it art. Then, had the nerve to be self-congratulatory about their efforts to protect them from the certain abuse they would bear at the hands of their own countrymen for participating in such a racially explosive movie.
I'm sickened to my core.
This isn't the first mainstream movie with a rape scene involving a child. Apparently this has become old hat. Dakota Fanning, a darling girl was too in a graphic rape scene in a movie that will not likely be released here in the mainstream movies, but it was applauded by offshoots of the film industry... Cannes, and the Toronto Film Festival. Not without controversy, but not enough to block the movie either. (What was her mother thinking??!!)
It's no wonder then that everytime I scan my morning news there are endless stories about women and children being murdered, kidnapped, raped, burned, strangled, assaulted, drowned, abused, starved. I read it and I hurt.
I hurt for my generation that we have passively allowed violence against women and children to pass off as entertainment.
But more importantly, I hurt for the next generation who will never know innocence. If their parents were entertained by the raping of Afghan boys, what kind of world will they live in? What horrors lie behind their doors?
Who is protecting our children? It's not enough for me to protect "me and mine". Sure, I keep my kids close, I preview their movies, I talk with them about stranger safety. But some day my kids are going to walk out into this Sodom and Gomorrah World... what awaits them there? And, what did I do to shape it? Or worse, what did I not do?
The director of "The Kite Runner" also directed "Neverland". His name is Marc Forster.
The movie is distributed by Paramount Vantage, the art-house and specialty label of Paramount Pictures .
It's not enough to stay up late and blog about it. It's not enough to read a blog about it. What will you do? What won't you do?