The Kite Runner: A Portrait of the Marc Forster Film is a movie book based on the film of the same name, which is based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini. Confusing? Not really. The bestselling novel came first, followed by an amazing film of the same name. The movie book, reviewed here, goes hand-in-hand with the film.
The film and movie book follow closely the story told in Hosseini’s novel, that of Amir, the privileged son of his well-off “Baba”, a Kabuli businessman, and his relationship with Hassan, the son of Baba’s servant. Amir and Hassan spend their childhood together in Kabul in the mid-1970s; their days are spent flying kites, visiting the market, and reading under the shade of a pomegranate tree in the cemetery. Hassan, of course, also spends his time helping own father to cook, clean, and otherwise care for Baba’s household. Amir sometimes takes advantage of the friendship of Hassan, and in one pivotal scene we see the cost to Hassan, Amir, and both their fathers.
The book takes us through the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1978. We follow Amir and Baba as they grapple with the new ruling class in their country, but we are left to wonder the outcome of life for Hassan and his father. Fast-forward to the present day, when Amir valiantly attempts to overcome his past shortcomings and make amends to his friend. The adult Amir knows “there is a way to be good again.”
The Kite Runner movie book is an accurate re-telling of the film version of the novel. The foreword by author Khaled Hosseini details the emotional journey he took watching his novel come to life on the big screen. For the filming, Hosseini returned to Kabul, after having left Afghanistan himself at age eleven.
The section titled “The Making of The Kite Runner” discusses the processes of creating a script, scouting locations, the intricacies of casting children and adults, and overcoming language issues. Also included are several set drawings and costume sketches.
The bulk of the book is a complete working screenplay, including production notes such as OS (off-stage) and CONTINUOUS. This would be of interest to anyone who would like to learn more about the behind-the-scenes happenings of a movie shoot. The powerful dialogue makes for a gripping and fast-paced read. When I read The Kite Runner: A Portrait of the Marc Forster Film, I felt like I was viewing the movie for a second time, with the opportunity to slow down or “replay” favorite scenes; one needn’t have seen the movie, however, to enjoy this book. Over 100 full-color photographs and movie stills capture the beauty of the scenery, the authenticity of the costuming, the emotions expressed on the faces of the actors.
Newmarket Press offers a series of pictorial movie books based on classic films such as Dances with Wolves, E.T. and Schindler’s List, as well as more recent films including The Namesake and 2008’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. The Kite Runner movie book was issued in paperback in 2007; the hardcover edition, with its breathtaking stills from filming in China (standing in for Afghanistan) and San Francisco, makes a great coffee-table book.