Diary Of A Hollywood Refugee

Monday, December 03, 2007

From Iraq To Afghanistan in Films

2007 began with Iraq war themed films and appears to be ending with Afghanistan war themed films.

The Iraq themed films have been massive failures, achieving dismal box office revenues, but will the same be true for these Afghanistan themed films?

"The Kite Runner"

Scheduled to be released just prior to Christmas; based on the moving, powerful, evocative runaway global bestselling novel from Afghan author Khaled Hosseini

The film, unlike the novel, opens in Afghanistan in 1979 at the time of the Russian invasion, moves to California, and returns to Kabul in the late 1990's, during it's Taliban imposed rule. An extremely powerful story set against the political turmoil of Afghanistan, "The Kite Runner" explores themes of friendship, honor, community, betrayal and redemption.

While the film was not shot in Afghanistan, most of the actors will be speaking Dari---the film will be subtitled.

The novel is far better and more detailed at exploring the complex ethnic and social issues in Afghanistan than the film allows time for. But nonetheless David Benioff's screenplay adaption makes this film Oscar worthy!

Best-selling Afghan author Khaled Hosseini has pleaded with the United States and its allies not to abandon Afghanistan, warning without their help the land of his birth is doomed.

Hosseini, whose novel "The Kite Runner" is a runaway global bestseller and has been turned into a film, said that "without a genuine and sustained long-term commitment on the part of the United States and its allies, Afghanistan is doomed."

Read "Kite Runner author urges US to hang on in Afghanistan.

"Charlie Wilson's War"

Based on a true story,and the book of the same name, stars
Tom Hanks, and Julia Roberts, and is scheduled to be released December 27th.

A drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson's covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects.

"Good-Time Charlie" Wilson, a flawed and fun-loving Congressman from East Texas, deftly operates the levers of power to funnel money and weapons to the Mujahedin of Afghanistan following the Soviet invasion of their country in late 1979. Charlie
finds assistance in the oddest of places with the oddest of people.

Dirty Harry's review of "Charlie Wilson's War"

"Afghanistan The Forgotten War".
Freelance Photojournalist Scott Kesterson (who served with the Oregon National Guard 41st Brigade in the 80's) came to my attention last year through the blog of a soldier who was serving with the 41st Brigade Oregon National Guard, which had recently deployed to Afghanistan.

We emailed back and forth and he introduced me to the work of Scott Kesterson . Scott had served with the 41st Brigade during the 1980's, and as such, had a personal interest in documenting this deployment and in telling this narrative.

For 16 months, Scott lived along side this unit as they mobilized at Camp Shelby, Mississippi and then deployed to Afghanistan .This unit was tasked with training the Afghan National Army, so Scott had access to Afghans and our Military in Afghanistan in a way no other journalist truly had.

I had not been aware when I was initially introduced to his work, that Scott was documenting his day to day experiences in an online blog courtesy of KGW.com:

"My focus is and will be the human part of the story; that element that too often gets passed over in the face of headlines and dramatic events. I am a strong believer that the real drama is what happens in the lives of people through the events of the day to day."

You can read his entire blog here.

I recommend you peruse the monthly archives (lower right on his blog page) where Scott provides a perspective about Afghanistan that you can't glean anywhere else.

"Afghanistan - The Forgotten War" is scheduled to be released in early 2008.