The Kite Runner

The movie The Kite Runner is about a wealthy Afghani boy named Amir who is tormented by the guilt of not helping his servants son, and childhood friend Hassan when he is brutally assaulted by a local bully. Years later, when Amir is living in California, he is brought back to Afghanistan by his father’s best friend Rahim Khan, to save the life of Hassan’s son and “Set things right”. Due to the content of the movie that deals with some dark themes such as childhood slavery, rape and war hardships, the movie title sequence had to convey an equally dark theme as well as showcase the Middle Eastern and Afghani culture that the film represented.

The tile sequence was simple with little use of pictures or imagery.  However, the use of typeface was significant. The designer used a serif typeface that was very fluid and dark, with thick lines and curved ends.  The letters seemed to flow and bleed into each new title that appeared on the screen which gave it a whimsical tone. There were also curved symbols and lines that appeared behind the typeface during the title sequence which resembled middle eastern writing.  This seemed to convey a cultural vibe which was consistent with the setting of the movie which was Afghanistan. These symbols appeared in the same curving and translucent font as the titles and also seemed to bleed off the page as a new title came on the screen. At some points, the type face seemed to be more translucent which gave it the effect of looking like someone had written it with a pen and it resembles old calligraphy style writing. This made the overall title sequence more mysterious. It also contributed to the dark theme of the movie and its elements.

The colors used in the title sequence are also consistent with the dark and Middle Eastern vibe of the movie because they used contrasting dark and light neutral tones. When the title sequence first opens, the background is a light tan color and is washed with darker brown, making it resemble old parchment. The background fluctuates and changes as the title sequence progresses and uses darker shades of brown and red brown on the tan background in varying shapes to look like stains on parchment. This gives the title sequence an antique vibe and makes it seem older and more worn out which could allude to the “post war” tone of the movie. The symbols on the typeface also appear in different colors such as blue orange and green to look like colored ink on parchment. As the title sequence progresses the typography continues to shift on and off the paper and the colors go from tan to a purple and  red-black, making it look like the letters are underground. This change, from light to dark shades, gives a contrast to the title sequence and signifies a changing mood during the movie and “darker” things to come. The color of the typeface also changes and goes from black to cream letters which provides a contrast to the now dark background.

Another element that was utilized was the use of music in the title sequence.  As the names start appearing on the screen you can hear the Middle Eastern music playing in the with its heavy drums and foreign instruments. Although most people viewing the title sequence may be unfamiliar with the style of music, you can easily recognize the cultural significance of the drum sounds and relate it back to the Afghanistan setting of the movie.  The music gets quieter and louder in certain parts of the title sequence as the colors shirt from dark to light. This contributes to the tone of the movie and its shifting dark and light themes. There is no singing in the music, only instrumental sounds. This gives it a more serious tone and goes along with the trend of there being no pictures of people in the title sequence, just symbols and writing.

All of these elements combined make the title sequence of the Kite Runner very effective in conveying the vibe of the movie and foreshadowing what is to come.  The movie itself elicits emotions from the audience such as fear and sadness, as well as anger, hope and optimism. In order to accurately represent these changing themes, the designers of the title sequence employed the duality of light and dark with the changing colors of the background.  They also utilized the serif typeface that looked like bleeding ink to showcase the fluid changes of the movie and give it a more mysterious and whimsical vibe. The music and the symbols on the paper were also used to represent the Middle Eastern culture and pay homage to the movie’s setting and Amir and Hassan’s childhood home in Afghanistan.  Overall, the designers were successful in creating a title sequence that appropriately represented the message of the film and the themes the Kite Runner represented.