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The Patience Stone 15

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DIRECTOR Atiq Rahimi
CAST Golshifteh Farahani, Hamid Djavadan, Hassina Burgan, Massi Mrowat

A young Afghan woman struggles to care for her injured, comatose husband as their neighbourhood becomes the front line of an ongoing battle. She relieves her suffering by pouring out her deepest secrets and feelings in a way she has never done before. A remarkable female perspective on a culture where women have little control over their destiny, featuring a slow-building performance of searing intensity. (2012 Afghanistan / France / Germany / UK 102 minutes Subtitled)

BBFC advice: Contains strong sex references and occasional gore
Detailed advice from the BBFC (click on BBFC insight)

As a woman tends to her comatose husband, an injured rebel fighter in an unnamed, war-torn village, she pleads for him to wake and protect his family from the bullets that fly outside their window and tanks that roll in the streets. Fearing for the lives of her two young daughters, the woman takes them to the safety of a relative’s home while she returns daily to care for her unresponsive husband. Weeks go by, and as her desperation grows, an awakening begins to take hold, giving voice to her previously unuttered thoughts, grievances and desires.

Afghan exile Atiq Rahimi teams with veteran screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière for this adaptation of his own award-winning novel. As with Rahimi’s 2004 feature debut, Earth and Ashes, the story revolves around a confession. But the husband (Hamidreza Javdan) cannot hear a word his wife (Golshifteh Farahani) is saying because he is in a coma after being shot by a brother jihadist in a petty squabble. Furious at being deserted by his family and comrades, and left with nothing after a decade of marital servility besides two daughters and a bombed-out house, the wife vents her frustrations in a series of monologues whose critique of traditional patriarchal Islamic values will provoke more fury than her unchaperoned encounters with a bashful soldier. Farahani is no stranger to controversy and plays her part to perfection. Thierry Arbogast’s lustrous photography and Erwin Prib’s evocative, claustrophobic sets are equally impressive. But it’s Rahimi’s courage as both writer and director that makes this intense and perceptive picture so unflinchingly compelling. David Parkinson, Radio Times

UK RELEASE 6 December 2013
RUNNING TIME 102 minutes
COUNTRY Afghanistan / France / Germany / UK

Official film website and trailer
IMDB film information