The Patience Stone (2012) : Foreign Film Review

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

“Those who do not know how to make love, make war”.

Those who are close to me always knew that i have a very deep connection with Afghanistan. I dont know what intrigued me to love that country but i did love it. I watched its films, I read about them regardless what its all about. It can be about war, taliban, women oppression, life-changing moment and so many more. I even planning to go there one day, i dont know when but god willing, i will one day. I found ‘The Patience Stone’ by accident when i searching of Asghar Farhadi. Well, if you didnt know him, he is one of the top Iranian Film Maker. I watched his last film during 2011 and kind of wondering whether he’s already released his new film. That’s when i stumbled upon ‘The Patience Stone’. It was a bit disappointed seeing wikipedia didnt tell much about this film especially the synopsis and plot of the story. i, then followed my gut and downloaded this film.

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My Rating: 4/5

The story begins with the young woman, who are nameless talking to her husband whom twice his age at his side. She kept babbling but her husband didnt respond to any of it. It turns out that her husband is an ex afghan Jihadi militia. He has been shot at the back of his neck. He survived the injury but he is in a vegetative state. The war still continued at that time and the young woman does not have enough money to support his medicine and other necessaries at that time. She then run across the city searching for her aunt only to find that her aunt is already gone. She tried to find her mother in law and brother in law but it turn out they already fled the city together. She was left behind because she still has a husband and it is not their responsibility to take care of her. She was devastated. She was desperate at that time. The bombing is worsen day by day and she knew she could not stay at her house any longer.

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Golshifteh Farahani as ‘The Young Woman’

She took both her daughters out of their house right after the tragedy happened to her neighboir. Her neighbor going crazy because she found the body of her family hang in the tree infront of their house. Her husband and children had been slaughtered by another group of militant in the cross fire last night. Due to safety of her daughters, she left her vegetative husband behind and promised that she would come back once she found a safe place for them. She kept searching for her aunt until she found her at the brothel house. She seeks help and protection for her daughters from her aunt. Her aunt welcomed her family with an open heart. Every morning, she will go to her home to replace her husband’s medicine fluid, clothes and while she’s doing that, she will talk to him.

She talked to her husband continuously although she didnt get any respond from him.
She talked to her husband continuously although she didnt get any respond from him.

The real story began here when she poured her heart out to her husband almost every day. She knew her husband listened to her. She talked how she was so frustrated with their marriage, their dull sex life, their platonic relationship that involved almost no romance at all, her pressure of having to get pregnant and so many more. She enjoyed her talk with her husband because he didnt listen to her before. If she were to talk or to tell him what to do, she will get slapped or beaten or much worse. When she got this rare opportunity, she mentioned everything that she buried as a secret before. (THIS IS SPOILER) She revealed that both of their daughter are not from his seed because he’s the sterile one not her. However, She’s afraid that he might getting another wife, she seeks her auntie’s help to get pregnant.

Her aunt is the saviour for the young woman.
The young woman and her aunt.

She faced some danger while traveling back and forth to see her husband at home and attend to her daughter’s need at the brothel house. She was left no choice. She had to do it. On one day, she came across two militia man that barged into her home looking for protection due to cross fire they faced that day. The older man asked her what she was doing alone in that house. The young woman afraid of being raped by both of them, she lied to them by saying that she is a prostitute. She was cursed by that old man and get spitted because of her sin in doing that kind of job. Her aunt told her that what she did was a right action as “man didnt want to rape a hole that has been used for a thousand times”.

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The Young Woman and Her Vegetative Husband.

She returned to her house the next day to continue her routine as usual. The young man from the Militia that she met yesterday came to meet her. He then raped her and left alot of money to her. She was heartbroken and traumatized by the event. However, on the bright side, she could use the money to buy the medicine, to replenish the food and to pay the water bearer to fill the water in her house. The young man kept coming back to her asking for sex and in return, she was paid for it. She laid beside her vegetative husband and told him the experience of being with the young man. She enjoyed every moment with the young man as he is a gentle lover according to the young woman. He did what she told her to and didnt even get angry compared to her husband. The ending approached when the Young Woman confessed that their childrens does not belong to him. The old husband awake at that moment and try to strangle her wife but she managed to stab him first. While he was drawing his last breath, the young woman laid beside him with the eyes filled with tears and regret.

The story is adapted from this book.
The story is adapted from this book.

After watching this film, i swear if i find the book, i will buy it right away. I wanted to know what is the feeling of the young woman to young militia man. Is it love, is it empathy, or is it because of money? The is one particular scene that i really love in the movie is when the young man running to the young woman’s house and asked from her only one minute to talk to her. The young woman taught that he wanted sex and asked him to come back later but the young man insisted it right away. When they both entered the room, the young woman take off the young man’s clothes. She then understood that the young man came to tell her about his plight. He was abused by the older militia man and has been forced of being his dancing boy for so long. The young woman saw the burned mark at the chest and the back of young militia man. She then cried while telling her husband about the difficulty faced by the young man. She said with tears in her eyes ‘That bastard spitted on me when i said i am a whore but look what he’s done to the poor orphan, in the morning he is a militia man, in the evening, he wears bell at his feet’.

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When She discovered that he was abused and being used as a dancing boy, she hugged him tightly.
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Their ‘Forbidden’ Relationship
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Massi Mrowat as The Young Militia Man

This story is not for a weak heart obviously. In the War torn country, she survived the life of being a woman who is a voiceless and seen as a piece of meat by the opposite gender. She did whatever it takes to survive and to ensure that she could go on with her life and her daughters. The question of betrayal in marriage, forbidden love and belief is no longer relevant when you are in her shoes. This is one of amazing film that within it hides a various emotions and feelings when you are watching it. The title of the film which is the patience stone referred to the old tale of persian that the stone listened to all your secrets and you can tell the stone everything without being scared of being judged or mocked. In this film, we can see that the young woman treated her vegetative husband like a patience stone.

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