DISCLAIMER: English is my second language, sorry for any mistakes
The movie's four different storylines in three different countries around the world are presented with scenes switching from one set of characters to the next. the course of events and the complete connection between the stories is not revealed until the very end. Eventhough the scenes jump from storyline to storyline, they never seem disconnected. Successive scenes always contradict or reinforce the former scene in content and artistic protrayal. In the beginning, the music that was awarded an Oscar contains reference to the country the scene takes place in. As the desperation in all the storylines builds up, the music also becomes less of a tool to distinguish between different settings, but rather powerfully emphasizes the character's universal experiences of loss and despair.
The rifle as the connecting element between the storylines starts and ends the narration of the story. When Ahmed and Yussef decide to shoot at the distant bus, the tragic events take their course around the world. When Yussef destroys the rifle, they dissolve.
However, if we take the actual events into account, the story would have to start with Chieko, whose father gave the rifle to Hassan, who then sold it to Ahmed and Yussef's father. This is another stylistic device to reinforce the movie's message: to understand, we have to pay attention.
The movie's open end and the gradual revelation of improtant details throughout leaves room for the audience to interpret the story for themselves and amplifies the life-like character of the movie: we are not presented the fate of all the characters and are forced to reflect on the possibilities on our own.
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