Friday, April 07, 2017

The Patience Stone

Based on the novel by Atiq Rahimi, The Patience Stone is the story of a woman telling a story to her comatose and wounded husband during a war in a Muslim country. Directed by Rahimi and screenplay by Rahimi and Jean-Claude Carriere, the film is a look into a woman trying to tell her own life story to her husband whom she felt had neglected her as she finally gets to speak to him in his comatose state. Starring Golshifteh Farahani, Hamid Djavadan, Massi Mrowat, and Hassina Burgan. The Patience Stone is a riveting and mesmerizing film from Atiq Rahimi.

Set a war-torn Muslim country where a soldier is in a comatose state due to a bullet in his neck, the film is about the soldier’s wife who is tending to him while he is in a vegetative state as she talks about aspects of her life including her frustrations, revelations, and dreams to a man who didn’t treat her very well. It’s a film that follows this woman who doesn’t have many people to turn to with the exception of an aunt who would care for her two daughters during the war as she tends to her husband. The film’s screenplay by novelist Atiq Rahimi and Jean-Claude Carriere largely emphasizes on this woman (Golshifteh Farahani) to reveal a lot to her comatose husband (Hamid Djavadan) while would only step out to see her aunt (Hassina Burgan) who tells her the story of a patience stone where the woman uses her husband as a patience stone to reveal everything and hopefully be released from all of that suffering. Even as she would try to hide his body from militia whom he was fighting against as well as wonder why his brothers had abandoned him during the war.

Rahimi’s direction is quite engaging not just for some of the compositions that are created but also for its intimacy as it is shot on very few locations in and around Afghanistan. While there are some wide shots in the film including a key shot of a battle raging on above the roofs of several houses in the small and rural town near the mountains. Rahimi prefers to use close-ups and medium shots to give the film a somewhat theatrical tone as much of the action takes place at the home of the couple as well as the aunt’s home. There are also some flashback sequences as it relates to the woman recalling her childhood and her wedding day even though the man never showed up. Some of Rahimi’s compositions in scenes where the woman tells the story to her husband would sometimes have her in the foreground and him in the background or vice versa as it play into what she is telling him. Even as she ponders if these ten years of marriage where she didn’t have much to say to him is really worth it. Overall, Rahimi creates an eerie yet entrancing film about a woman telling her own story to her comatose husband during a war.

Cinematographer Thierry Arbogast does excellent work with the film’s cinematography from its usage of natural lights for some of the daytime/nighttime interiors as well as some of the exterior scenes. Editor Herve de Luze does brilliant work with the editing as it uses some unique transitional fade-outs and other stylized cuts to help play into the film’s slow yet methodical rhythm. Production designer Erwin Prib and art director Delphine De Casanove do fantastic work with the set design from the look of the home the couple lives in as well as the place where the aunt lives at.

Costume designer Malek Jahan Khazai does nice work with the costumes as it’s mostly casual from the yellow veil that the woman wears outside to the more stylish but conservative clothes that she wears inside the house. Sound designer Noemi Hampel does superb work with the sound in capturing the sounds of rockets and bombs flying in the air or the smaller moments in some of the sets. The film’s music by Max Richter is wonderful for its mixture of orchestral, ambient, and traditional Middle Eastern music while music supervisor Matthieu Sibony would provide a soundtrack that consists of music from that world.

The film’s incredible ensemble include some notable small roles from Malak Djaham Khazal as a neighbor, Mohamed Al Maghraoui as the local mullah, Hiba Lharrak and Aya Abida as the woman’s daughters, and Massi Mrowat as a young militia who would meet the woman unaware of her real role in the world. Hassina Burgan is wonderful as the woman’s aunt who works part time as a prostitute yet knows a lot about the world while Hamid Djavadan is superb as the comatose husband who is often in a vegetative state as he is silent throughout listening to his wife. Finally, there’s Golshifteh Farahani in a phenomenal performance as the woman who is trying to take care of her husband as she copes with the years of neglect and cruelty she would tell him so much about herself as it’s a very graceful and touching performance from Farahani who is a major highlight of the film.

The Patience Stone is a remarkable film from Atiq Rahimi that features a sensational performance from Golshifteh Farahani. It’s a film that showcases what a woman in a war-torn Muslim has to do to cope with the chaos of war as well as the role of women in that world where they don’t have much to say. In the end, The Patience Stone is an incredible film from Atiq Rahimi.

© thevoid99 2017


Brittani Burnham said...

This sound really interesting. I'll have to see if I can find a place to watch it. Great review!

thevoid99 said...

@Brittani-If you have Starz, I'm sure it will be on soon or on demand as it's really worth checking out.

Anonymous said...

Your blog always introduces me to interesting sounding movies. This looks like no exception.

thevoid99 said...

@vinnieh-That's one of the reasons I like to write about films. Discover films that people haven't heard of and give those films a chance to be seen to a wider audience.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen it. Sounds pretty emotional.

thevoid99 said... think it's available on Starz on demand as it's definitely worth a look.