2 March 2014

DVD Review - The Patience Stone (2013)


Genre:
Drama, War, World Cinema
Distributor:
Axiom Films
Rating:15
Director:
Atiq Rahimi
Cast:
Golshifteh Farahani, Hamid Djavadan, Hassina Burgan
Buy:The Patience Stone [DVD]


Adapted from director Atiq Rahimi’s own novel from a screenplay he co-wrote with frequent Buñuel collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière, The Patience Stone is a beguiling film, in every sense of the word, which unfortunately cannot shake its literary origins. The story is deceptively simple. In an unnamed city, presumably in Afghanistan, during an unspecified conflict, an unnamed woman tends to her unnamed husband who lies comatose in his bed with a bullet wound in his neck. At first the woman feels lost without him and clings desperately to the hope that he will wake up but gradually – and with the idea of the patience stone of the title planted firmly in her mind – she uses her husband’s vegetative state to unburden her mind and speak freely to him for the first time, revealing her innermost secrets and desires. It is quite clear that he represents the oppressive patriarchy and she the oppressed everywoman searching for emancipation but with the setting being within the context of war it becomes unclear whether or not the film truly is about breaking free from patriarchy or if it is more about the destructive nature of war. The line “Those who don’t know how to make love, make war,” spoken midway through inclines us toward the later and takes away some of the force the film could have had. As it stands, the politics feel generalised and too artificial to fully convince.

★★★☆☆

Shane James


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