[Screenplay by David Benioff, adapted from the novel by Khaled Hosseini. Hosseini, an Afghani by birth, left the country with his family after the king was deposed in a communist coup. I commented in the post on Disgrace that I’d put up a screen shot only if something about this rather disappointing movie stuck with me when I woke up this morning. It did — and here it is.]
Baba, a wealthy Afghani, owns a large estate in Kabul. He has one child, a son named Amir; his wife is dead. A lifelong servant and his son Hassan, members of the oppressed Hazara minority, live in an outbuilding on the property. Despite class and ethnic differences, Amir and Hassan are best friends — at the beginning of the movie anyway. The story begins in the 70s, just after the monarchy has fallen to the communists.
AMIR: The mullahs at school say that drinking is a sin. They say drinkers pay when the Reckoning comes.
BABA (swallows some whiskey): Do you want to know what your father thinks about sin?
AMIR: You mean the mullahs?
BABA: I piss on the beards of those self-righteous monkeys. They do nothing but thumb their prayer beads and recite a book in a tongue they don’t even understand. There is only one sin. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation on theft. Do you understand that?
AMIR: No, Baba jan.
BABA: When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to her husband, his children’s right to their father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. Do you see? The is no act more wretched than stealing. A man who takes what’s not his to take, be it a life or a loaf of naan, I spit on such a man. And if I ever cross paths with him, God help him. Do you undersatnd?
AMIR: Yes, Baba.
BABA: Good. (Drains the rest of his whiskey with a single swallow, stands, and returns to the bar.) All this talk of sinning is making me thirsty.