The Patience Stone
Cert: TBC Year: 2013 Length: 102 mins Language: Dari
Cinema Handout (PDF 90KB)
Score: 82.35% Attendance: 58
In Persian mythology, there is a magic stone which, when placed in front of a person, shields them from unhappiness, pain and suffering; the Patience Stone. Somewhere in Afghanistan, or maybe elsewhere, in a country torn by war, a young woman is left alone with her badly wounded older husband; he is in a coma. Gradually, she start to tell him of her problems, her suffering, her loneliness and her desires; she talks about their relationship, saying things she could never have said to him before. "Why am I telling you this?", she asks him.
Directing this incredibly poetic film, French-Afghan Atiq Rahami took it from his own powerful novel, with the help of veteran screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrier. The power on the screen comes once again this season from the leading (almost the only) actor - Golshifteh Farahani, gaining her enormous applause from the critics; "It is a tour de force for the actress, needless to say. Iranian Golshifteh Farahani is wonderful in the role" - Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune; "...Farahani, who uses her eyes with all the power of the great silent stars. With the subtle shift of a few muscles, she can convey a world of thought behind those eyes" - Hank Sartin, RogerEbert.com
Rahami uses flashbacks to fill in some of the details in the film, but essentially he manages to tell the story of "the woman's" life (she, like everyone else, is unnamed) simply by what she tells her husband. In doing this, he also gives us a history of a country's suffering. As Hank Sartin goes on to say in RogerEbert.com - "The details of the woman's life are like a crash course in the sociology of a country living through turmoil, under the twin constraints of strict religion and a constant state of war". So, a contender for our "poetic film of the year", then... but there are a couple of events that might shock us too.
By turns mysterious, moving, shocking and explicit - and very different from the kind of opaque and quietist cinema we might expect.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
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