Thursday, September 19, 2013

She talks to a man who can't hear

A defenseless young woman (Golshifteh Farahni) tries to care for her comatose husband (Hamidrez Javdan) in The Patience Stone, a war-torn drama set in the middle of a nameless country that looks a lot like Afghanistan. Unable to move, speak and shuttered in deep unconsciousness, Javdan's chararacter becomes a kind of implied presence in the woman's life. In its most unusual and provocative scenes, The Patience Stone finds Farahni's troubled character talking to her husband, at times loathing him, at times imploring him not to abandon her, always painting a picture of the man who lies unconscious before her and once towered over her life. The point: Even if this much older man were suddenly to awaken, he wouldn't spend much time listening to his young wife. Unnerved by bombings and forced to deal with a lack of food and water, Farahni's character -- referred to in the credits only as The Woman -- takes her kids to live with her aunt (Hassina Burgan), a woman who lives in a brothel. The Woman then returns home to tend to her husband, nourishing him with an impromptu IV mix of sugar and water that drips into his mouth. The movie deals with the ways in which this woman begins to find her voice and also her sexual power -- in an affair with a young soldier. Director Atiq Rahimi , who wrote the novel on which the film is based, works from a screenplay by Jean-Claude Carrière. The Patience Stone may not entirely speak to the plight of all oppressed women, but it effectively closes us into one woman's dangerous, narrow world.

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