Thursday, October 4, 2007

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.


I'm sorry, I had planned on keeping all of my posts this October about fun and light-hearted fare like flesh eating zombies, rotting corpses and hatchet wounds in honor of Halloween. Unfortunately, I can't ignore the news I read this morning.

Reported in the New York Times is this story about Mac Forster's new movie The Kite Runner, based on the 2003 best-selling novel written by Khaled Hosseini. It follows three decades of Afghan strife and focuses mainly on a friendship between two Afghan boys Amir and Hassan. The article reports of the controversy surrounding the movie a month before its release. Specifically regarding a pivotal scene where Hassan is raped by a Pashtun bully. Word has already spread in Afghanistan about the rape scene and now the two Afghan boys fear for their lives. Sources are going back and forth on whether the family was truly aware of the scene before it was shot. But seriously, does it even matter? In a country where the biggest form of media is the rumor mill, you have no chance of spinning this in favor of Paramount, the studio behind this production. And why should anyone try? This idea was stupid the second it was thought up. Couple this story with Richard Gere's recent incident inolving Shilpa Shetty and suddenly Hollywood is no longer the sympathetic voice of peace, it is public enemy number one.

Forster wanted to direct the movie because he felt he was “giving a voice and a face to people who’ve been voiceless and faceless for the last 30 years.” I have an idea, let's stop trying to help people in other areas of the world. Forster is originally from Germany and Switzerland but he has been living in the United States since the 1990's and it looks like he has successfully fallen right in line with our current administration. In other words, we are the superhero and everyone needs saving.

Megan Colligan, head of marketing at Paramount Vantage said "nothing will be done if it puts any kid at risk." If anyone truly cared, they would never have attempted to bring this novel to the big screen in the first place.

20 comments:

Joe Valdez said...

Pat! For once, I agree with your cynicism.

The rest of the world doesn't want help from Mickey Mouse. The rest of the world resents help from Mickey Mouse. At the end of the day, Mickey Mouse doesn't end up helping anyway.

People like Forster - whose work I respect - want to feel better about themselves, but I don't know if he appreciates the cultural and religious minefield he was mucking around in.

Following your cynicism though, I doubt very seriously that the actors or the actors' families had no idea what they were signing up for. I've never even picked up a copy of The Kite Runner and I know it's about child sexual abuse. Their outrage is more likely about saving face and getting more money.

Happy thoughts.

Piper said...

Aw Joe, I had no idea that my cynicism was getting in the way of us furthering our relationship. I'll work on it. And by the way, this is one cynic that hates that you use Mickey Mouse to represent America because I love Disney so much. Try and figure that one out.

I agree with you that now that the heat is on the family is claiming no knowledge of this scene and honestly I can't blame them. But my point is that it should never have gotten that far. It's my understanding that this is a great book, but do an adaptation of it and locate it someplace new.

Always happy thoughts.

weepingsam said...

On the other hand, I'm not sure hollywod stupidity is quite the blame for the stupidity of people threatening kids for acting in a movie. It's maybe less clear cut because it is a big budget hollywood film imposing itself on them, but it would probably be the same kind of reaction is Afghani filmmakers made the film... or maybe the latter would have been intimidated up front. There's stupidity to go around, but the evil is on the side of the people threatening the kids - or drumming up the story for propaganda purposes....

Piper said...

weepingsam,

Is that the Hardy Boys I see?

I agree with you but I think it's inherent that a country where the Taliban ruled is going to be a little wiggy about such things. Yes it's stupid, but it's not like any of this should come as a surprise to Hollywood. Even in this country there are a lot of people making a stink about Dakota Fanning's rape scene. I don't know that anyone is threatening to kill her, but you never know.

Elijah Price said...

Piper,

Good God, did you really drink the fucking Kool-Aide? Seriously, "it looks like he has successfully fallen right in line with our current administration. In other words, we are the superhero and everyone needs saving." Now let me be frank, I'm no fan of the current administration, in fact, I'm no fan of Washington D.C., but Hollywood has been "giving a voice and face" to those who cannot for years. Hollywood has been as much as a "superhero" as the politicians. The difference is one is rewarded by reward shows the other is rewarded by million dollar contracts. I'll let you figure out which one is which.

As for the Mickey Mouse comment Joe said, I say AMEN. NOTHING symbolized the greed of American culture and trying to push our way of life on people more than Disney. (Think Euro Disney) Ironic when you think about it. Walt Disney was the biggest anti Semite in the world and now Mickey Mouse represents the good ol' USA. Fucked up! Sorry if that pisses you off Piper, but, oh well.


I feel sorry for the family. I really do. They may be doing this for greed, but that is not my place to judge. I am THRILLED, however, to see pressure being put on Hollywood. I'm so sick of self righteous pricks sticking their noses where they don't belong. If this director is feeling the heat then I say good. Let's stick to fun and light-hearted fare like flesh eating zombies, rotting corpses and hatchet wounds in honor of Halloween.

Piper said...

Elijah,

I said that Forster has fallen in line with the current administration, not Hollywood. And no I didn't just wake up yesterday, I know that Hollywood has been guilty of this for some time, but it's not everyday that they put someone's life in danger.

If you would simmer for a moment you would see that you and I are on the same page. It's the arrogance in the name of art that pisses me off. Especially with Forster's quote about giving a voice and a face to people.

Piper said...

And Elijah,

Know that I love the fire baby. Keep it coming.

Neil Sarver said...

How could anyone not love The Fire Baby?

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