Paramount Vantage is delaying the release of Marc Forster’s new film The Kite Runner until Dec. 14 out of fear that a scene involving the rape of an Afghan boy could put the safety of the movie’s child actors at risk. One star and his father said Paramount didn't tell them the film would deal with taboo subjects. The studio said the angry feedback took it by surprise, and offered to pay for some of the stars to leave Afghanistan, where the movie was filmed, to avoid danger.
There’s no way Paramount could have imagined this controversy, said the Indiana University Statesman in an editorial, and they deserve praise for being socially responsible. “The costs they are encountering would have been viewed as prohibitive if realized at the outset.” But now they’ve decided to “pay for the children’s education” and “help their guardians find jobs”—it’s admirable that Paramount is “doing the right thing and protecting the children who made the movie possible.”
Paramount had to be aware of the risks from the beginning, said Kim Masters in Slate. “It is interesting how filmmakers can invest so much time and so many resources into creating authenticity on movies set in a different place and time” but then “claim ignorance about the very subject they’ve been studying.” And what’s really “ironic” is that the film version of The Kite Runner “has ended up creating exactly the sort of situation lamented” in the pages of the book it's based on.
“Western societies are cultures of personal revelation and exposure,” said Carla Power in Time, “while Muslim cultures are traditionally structured around protecting honor and propriety.” As our world becomes smaller, these “two codes bump up against one another, throwing each other into relief.” We live in a time when “a cybervideo of Paris Hilton in flagrante” co-exists with “a striking rise in Western Muslims taking up the veil.” It’s not surprising that “the more private life Western pop culture reveals," the more Muslim society shrinks away from it.