Two boys lives are forever changed by the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the subsequent Taliban rule. A boy flies a kite on the shore of the San Francisco Bay in the year 2000. A young couple returns to their apartment to find two boxes of books at the front door. It is the first book written by Amir Quadri (played by Khalid Abdala) who is the lead character. The book is titled “A Season for Ashes.” Amir is called on the telephone by his friend from childhood. Flashback to the 1970's in Kabul, Afghanistan. Children play with kites in a dog-fight style. One kite is cut loose, defeated as it flies away freely. Two boys chase after it. One of the boys named Hassan (played by Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada) knows exactly where the kite will land and races to get to the correct spot first. His friend Amir (played by Zekiria Ebrahimi) follows closely behind him. They arrive before the kite falls from the sky. One boy says to the other one this is the spot where the kite will land. The other boy questions this. The first boy asks him, “Has he ever lied to him?” And then says he would eat dirt for him if he asked him to do so. But he also says he knows his friend would never ask him to do such an ugly thing. Just as the boy predicted, the kite falls down and he catches it before the other children can run up to the scene. He gives the kite to his friend.
A wealthy man , who is the father of Amir, (played by Homayoun Ershadi) gives a check to another man to be used to build an orphanage. His associate Rahim Khan (played by Shaun Toub) tells him the officials will steal half the money. His response is, they are lazy if they only steal half. Amir overhears his father tell Rahim, his son is weak and does not know how to stand up for himself with the other boys. Rahim speaks to Amir and tells him he will leave for Pakistan. Rahim sees Amir is writing a story and asks if he can read it. We learn Amir feels responsible for his mother's death during his childbirth. Amir and Hassan go to see an American movie, a western. On the way back from the movie they are accosted by a group of three other boys led by a bully. Hassan has a sling-shot which he uses to take aim at the bully boy. The bully leaves them alone.
It is Hassan's birthday. Amir's father buys a new car. He takes the boys for a ride through the streets, which delights the boys. He takes them to a kite shop so they can choose the kite they want. Hassan and Amir prepare the kite for the championship battle. The boys practice with their kites from the roof tops. The two boys challenge the rest of Kabul to the kite fight. As each kite is cut free the children chase after them. Hassan guides Amir to victory as they chase and cut free many other kites. Amir father and Rashid watch the boys from a balcony. They are impressed with the skills. The townspeople cry for each of Amir's victories. He has defeated twelve kites. The all time record is fourteen set by Amir's father. Amir wins! His father is delighted. Hassan rushes to find the last falling kite before the other children can find it. The three bully boys find Hassan and demand the kite from him. Amir catches up to them to observe from nearby what is happening. They beat Hassan and rape him. Amir watches and does nothing to stop them. When they leave, Amir finds Hassan walking in the street with the kite, leaving a trail of blood behind as he walks in the snow. Hassan becomes despondent and all he wants to do is sleep. Amir and Hassan fight. Amir asks his father to get rid of the servants which includes Hassan and his father. Amir´s father refuses and becomes angry with him instead.
It is Amir's birthday. His father throws a big party for him. The bully boy comes with his father to Amir's party. Amir is forced to be nice to him. The party is wonderful with fireworks and music, but Amir is not able to enjoy himself. Hassan works with his father as a servant at the party, even forced to serve the bully boy who raped him. Amir tells his father his watch is missing, then he hides it in the bed of Hassan. Hassan admits he stole the watch, even though he did not take it. Hassan's father Ali tells Amir's father they do not work for him anymore . They are leaving after working for the family for forty years.
The communists invade Afghanistan. Amir and his father must leave for Pakistan immediately to avoid harm. Amir's father trades his car for safe passage. At the border, the Russian guard demands rape of one of the women in the truck with them, to allow them to pass. Amir's father stands up to the soldier and will not permit this. The Russian commander shows up in time to stop the soldier from killing Amir's father. They let them pass. They change trucks and climb inside an empty tanker truck to cross the border. They escape to USA.
Amir's father watches his son graduate college. Amir's father wants him to become a doctor, but Amir wants to become a writer. Amir's father reminds him, he wishes Hassan was there to celebrate with them. Amir meets a woman who is the daughter of an Afghani General who also escaped to USA. Her name is Jamila (played by Maimoona Ghizal). He offers to let her read some of his stories. The father of the girl sees him give her a story to read. He stops him, throws the manuscript in the trash, and reminds him of his place. Amir works with his father in the flea market to make money. His father gets sick. The General, his wife and daughter come to visit Amir's father in the hospital. This gives Amir a chance to speak to the woman he likes. She tells him she read his story and it made her cry. They keep this their secret. Amir's father comes home. He asks his father to request permission for him to marry the General's daughter. His father gets up from his sick bed to visit the General to pay his respects and ask permission for his son to marry the General's daughter. The General agrees. They have a big Afghani-style wedding. Amir's father dies.
Amir receives a call asking him to come to Pakistan because Rahim Kahn is very ill. Amir gives him a copy of his book, which is dedicated to him. Rahim tells him Hassan is dead. The Taliban killed him and his wife. Hassan´s son is in an orphanage. He has a letter from Hassan written to Amir. He tells Amir, Hassan was his half-brother, an illegitimate child of his father. Amir must go to Afghanistan to find Hassan's son and retrieve him from the orphanage. Amir goes to Afghanistan, in disguise, wearing a full fake beard to prevent his discovery by the Taliban. He finds Kabul desolated. All the trees are cut down. Kite flying is not permitted. The roads are in ruins. Children in the street are missing legs. He goes to the orphanage. The director of the orphanage tells him the Taliban leader sometimes buys children. The director permits this because he needs money to buy food for the other children. Hassan's son was one of the children sold to the Taliban leader. Amir finds his old home standing but in poor condition. He finds a carving on a tree made by him and Hassan when they were children. Amir goes to a soccer game. The Taliban leader brings a couple into the center of the arena during a break from the game. They are publicly stoned to death. Amir asks to speak to the leader about the boy. He goes to the house of the leader. He asks for the boy. They discover Amir is from America. The leader is the bully boy from Amir's youth. He recognizes Amir. They make Hassan's son Sorhab, dance for him. The bully attacks Amir and beats him down. The boy, Sorhab, uses a sling-shot and hits the man in the eye stopping his further attack on Amir. Amir and the boy escape out the window and climb over the wall. They drive off in the land rover. They bribe the border guard to cross into Pakistan. Rahim is dead. While Amir sleeps, Sorhab disappears. He looks for the boy in the market then in the mosque. When he returns from prayers the boy has returned. He was only hiding not wanting to be taken by bad men. He tells the boy he will not hurt him and gives him a photo of his father with the boy in the picture. Amir takes Sorhab back to USA. The General objects to a “Hazara” boy being in the family. Amir tells the General to tell the truth. The boy is the son of his father's affair with a servant woman. And his is no longer to be called a “Hazara” boy ever again. Amir teaches Sorhab to fly a kite.
Best part of story, including ending:
This film gives a side of Afghanistan life and history which is not well known by many.
Best scene in story:
I like the scene when Amir as a young boy becomes the kite champion of Kabul with the help of his friend Hassan.
Opinion about the main character:
Amir finds his courage to stand up for a good cause in the end and takes good care of his friend's son, which is admirable.