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MSU-West Plains presents a powerful film drama about modern Afghanistan

West Plains Civic Center

The February Film Series at Missouri State University-West Plains concludes Thursday Feb.25 with a special presentation, and MSU-WP's Coordinator of Theater and Events (and former KSMU news reporter) Jennifer Moore tells us about it.

The theme for the MSU-WP film series this year, says Jennifer Moore, has been Central Asia and the Middle East, and thus "piggybacked off the book that all first-year MSU-WP students are required to read, known as the 'Common Reader'. This year it was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, as directed by Marc Forster.

Forster's film version of the novel hues closely to Hosseini's book, and "is a movie about atonement and friendship," Jennifer Moore told  me. "It is a very heavy movie, I think you can safely say.  It's about two little boys who are from different ethnic backgrounds in Afghanistan.  One is Pashtu, one is Hazara." The wealthy father of one boy employs the father of the other boy, and the two kids become friends, despite their class differences, and the various prejudice and racism issues involved. And, says Jennifer, "it's all about how the wealthy boy goes off and lives his own life of opportunity and privilege, and always has this nagging regret: he needs to atone for something he didn't do. He didn't stand up for his friend." The film is rated PG-13 for its depiction of violence, including the rape of a child. "It's pretty tragic in some ways, but this is the story of modern Afghanistan."

The film will be shown at 6:30pm Thursday Feb.25 in the West Plains Civic Center Theater.  Preceding the screening at 5:30pm will be a reception in the Civic Center Theater lobby called "Journey Through the Mid-East and Central Asia," which will include traditional ethnic food from India, Afghanistan and the Arab world, along with an ethnic fashion show highlighting traditional attire from the Central Asia and Middle East regions, modeled by Missouri State University-West Plains students.

All MSU-West Plains Film Series presentations are free and open to the public.

Earlier that day (Feb.25), there will be a book reading following by a question-and-answer session, with the authors of Understanding Syria: A Physician's Memoir, by the authors of the book, physician Dr. Tarif Bakdash and Dr. W.D. Blackmon, head of the MSU English Department.  Jennifer Moore says, "if you live in Springfield, this is one of those thing's that's worth driving over to West Plains for!"  That goes for the reading as well as the film screening later that day.  Both are open to the public with no admission charge.

Jennifer also mentioned another Thursday event, this one the following week on March 3rd at 7:00pm, again in the West Plains Civic Center Theater: a concert by one of today's leading Irish/Celtic traditional bands, Caladh Nua. They're described as a vibrant, tightly-knit band deeply rooted in the counties of the south of Ireland, playing traditional Irish music with an innovative contemporary flair.  General admission tickets for this concert are $10 for adults; admission is free for MSU-WP students and for kids age 13 and under.  For information call (417) 256-8087.