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?