Afghanistan bans "Kite Runner" film

Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:06am EST
 

By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan has banned the import and exhibition of "The Kite Runner," a film about the troubled friendship of two Afghan boys, on the grounds that it could incite violence.

The U.S. studio behind "The Kite Runner," based on the 2003 best-selling novel by U.S.-based Afghan author Khaled Hosseini, last year had to get its three young stars out of their homeland before the movie debut to protect them from a possible backlash.

Paramount Vantage released the film last month after delays due to the extraordinary precautions taken to address concerns about the film's depiction of one boy's rape and other scenes of conflict between members of Pashtun and Hazara tribes.

Protests erupted last year after pirate copies of another film, "The Kabul Express" which was seen as anti-Hazara, made their way into the multi-ethnic country that is struggling to emerge from decades of invasion and civil war.

The Afghan government, whose power does not extend much beyond the main cities, then banned the film, sending prices of pirate copies soaring.

"On the basis of the instruction of the Information and Culture Ministry, the "Kite Runner" film's depiction and import has been banned," Latif Ahmadi, the head of state-run Afghan Film told Reuters late on Monday.

"Because some of its scenes are questionable and unacceptable for some people and would cause sensitiveness and would cause trouble for the government and people," he added.

"Kite Runner" explores Afghan society over three decades, from before the Soviet invasion through the rise of the Taliban, focusing on the friendship between Amir, the son of a wealthy Pashtun, and Hassan, the Hazara son of Amir's father's servant.   Continued...

 
<p>A scene from "The Kite Runner" in an image courtesy of Paramount Vantage. Afghanistan has banned the import and exhibition of the film on the grounds that it could incite violence. REUTERS/Handout</p>