Devastating Stories

Every once in a while I see a movie that, for lack of a better word, devastates me. And I use that word in its original meaning, “to thoroughly lay waste”. I walk out and I feel like every preconceived idea has been blasted and I find myself surveying the rubble of myself. All I want to do is go somewhere to think…and pray.

The Kite Runner did that to me today. I had read the book over winter break. It touched me deeply and I found myself misty-eyed several times while I was reading. The themes of transgression, honor, forgiveness, brotherly love, and redemption all set in a part of the world that is very close to my heart. I naively thought I was prepared to see the film. I already knew the story, right?  So much of the story is internal as well.  How could that possibly translate well to the screen? But, I think watching the film touched me even more deeply than reading the book.

I am sitting here trying to figure out why I had more of an emotional reaction to the film than the book.  For one thing, seeing the characters in their natural environment was very touching to me.  Though I have never been to Afghanistan, the market, the houses and courtyards, the faces of people were all very familiar to me.  I feel like someone brought a video camera into my backyard.  For another thing, there are expressions and movements that just can’t be captured in writing; no matter how great the writer.  There are things that can only be fully expressed through images.  And lastly, I think that there is something about seeing a person saying the words, real flesh and blood talking to you (through the medium of 35mm film) that just can’t compare to printed words on a page.  That (albeit fake) interaction with another human is profoundly meaningful.

I know that every author who reads this blog will probably be offended.  I am even a little hesitant to write this.  These are all new ideas to me.  I love books!  I don’t want to say that they come up short anywhere!  And I will grant you, there are some things that can be expressed much better through writing than through images.  But this evening, I really believe there is something about seeing another man and not just ink that is more powerful.

I mean, after all, isn’t that why the Word became flesh?