The Patience Stone DVD Review

     Actors: Golshifteh Farahani, Hamid Djavadan, Hassina Burgan
  • Director: Atiq Rahimi
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 11, 2014
  • Run Time: 102 minutes



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            In Hollywood it is often apparent that the female point of view is often overshadowed and ignored, which is what makes the recent rise in feminist films from Middle-Eastern countries even more remarkable. Wadjda was the first feature made entirely in Saudi Arabia, and it was simultaneously their first film with a female director with a narrative that encourages women’s rights in a society where they are treated as second-class citizens. The Patience Stone continues this trend in international cinema, both with its feminist narrative and willingness to allow the film to be carried by a female protagonist and performer.

     


            Adapted by Atiq Rahimi from his own best-selling novel, The Patience Stone is minimalist filmmaking that relies heavily upon its leading actress. The story takes place in Kabul, Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation in the 1990s, but because the film never gives the location, time or identity of the invading armed forces, it could take place in many different Muslim countries at different times. We are not even given names for the characters, with leading lady Golshifteh Farahani (Body of Lies, Chicken with Plums) listed only as ‘The Woman’ in the credits. This woman cares for her jihadist husband, who is either comatose or paralyzed from a bullet in his neck.

     

            Survival for an able-bodied person is difficult enough in this apocalyptic world, but the woman risks her own safety to stay and care for her husband when all of her neighbors have fled or fallen victim to the conflict. Following Persian mythology about a magical black stone that has the ability to take away suffering with confession, the woman begins to talk to her unresponsive husband. The more she talks, the clearer picture we have of the relationship she had with her husband. The woman is also visited by a young soldier who mistakes her for a prostitute, giving her an opportunity for a relationship which she is in complete control of.

     

            For a film which is nearly a one-woman show, mostly containing countless monologues given by Farahani, The Patience Stone was far more compelling than I expected. Much of this credit is due to Farahani’s performance, giving life to Rahimi’s narrative. The DVD includes a making-of featurette to accompany the film.   

           

    Entertainment Value: 5.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10

    Historical Significance: 6.5/10

    Special Features: 4/10

     

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