The Patience Stone review: a woman’s place
A beautiful and haunting Afghan film about love, devotion, and a woman’s “duty”; a remarkable feminist story from the unlikeliest place on the planet.
I’m “biast” (pro):
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have not read the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
We don’t know where what we witness is occurring, but it is a place of sand and no running water, of mullahs and burqas, of battle raging nearby and grievously wounded soldiers. One of those soldiers (Hamidreza Javdan) lies comatose in his home, nursed by his much younger wife (Golshifteh Farahani: Body of Lies) to the degree that she is able. It’s getting more difficult now that the pharmacist refuses to give her, on credit, any more of the “serum” her husband needs — as a poor near-widow, her husband unable to support her or their small daughters, she is now destitute, and the pharmacist knows it. Driven almost to the end of her wits and her forbearance, she begins to tell all her secrets to her husband, things she would never, could never say to him if he were able to hear what she were saying. He becomes her “patience stone,” an object from Persian mythology that can absorb all her pain. Or can it? Afghan filmmaker Atiq Rahimi, working from his own novel, has made an extraordinarily beautiful and haunting film about love, devotion, and a woman’s “duty” in a place where a woman isn’t supposed to have anything else. But as the unnamed woman here reveals her private longings along with her secrets — and later, when she turns to her aunt (Hassina Burgan) for help, and we learn her aunt’s surprising secrets — this becomes a remarkable feminist story from the unlikeliest place on the planet, one that reminds us that no matter how hard men may try, they cannot deny women their own humanity.
The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.]