The Kite Runner
The movie was The Kite Runner, based on the book by Khaled Hosseini. My sister invited me to see it with her at the Little, Rochester’s independent movie theatre. She’d read the book: I hadn’t, and I refused to let her talk about it because I wanted to be surprised. I was.
(Spoiler warning: you might wish to stop here if you want to be surprised, too.)
In the opening scenes, you see two young Afghan boys (played by Zekiria Ebrahimi and Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada) flying kites in the halcyon skies over 1970’s Kabul. Happy and energetic, their friendship is underscored by an insipid, vaguely Middle-Eastern soundtrack by Alberto Iglesias. About twenty minutes into the film, one of the boys is raped. This horrific scene literally shocked me out of my seat, and in my undignified haste to exit I thwacked the person in front of me with my bag. I babbled an apology, patted her head, and rushed out.
Everyone, I suppose, has something they just can’t stomach, whether it’s raw squid, the smell of wet dog, or Justin Timberlake. As for me, I can’t tolerate seeing violence against children. I’m still recovering from Mystic River.
Standing in the theater lobby, I felt shaken and a little foolish, thinking I should have read a review, listened to NPR, checked out Rotten Tomatoes, or asked my sister a few questions. I knew bad things were going to happen in this film, but I’d somehow missed the news coverage of how and why the boy actors were relocated for protection.
I walked to the ticket window and asked for a refund of my 8 dollars. I was refused, based on the Little’s official policy that if you’ve seen 25 minutes of a movie, you can’t get a refund. Annoyed, I decided to not complain about this random, absurd policy, even in a blog. I’m not so petty.
Sans refund, I wandered into the café, ordered hot cocoa, and sat down to wait for my sister.
After awhile, singer Gregory Paul walked in, unpacked his guitar, and drew a violin bow against its strings. He sang a full-throated, languid, melting hymn-like song that, in the moment, was the sweetest thing I’d ever heard.