"The Patience Stone": The Truth Comes Out During War

The Patience Stone The logic goes like this: A man won't rape a woman who claims to be a whore, because she's all used up. He might stone her to death as an expression of moral outrage, but he won't rape her. However, he'll happily rape a virgin, because doing so proves his own virility. This is the insane world that The Patience Stone's unnamed protagonist (Golshifteh Farahani) not only finds herself in, but has always been in, as an Afghan woman tending to her comatose husband (Hamidreza Javdan) while her already-rubble-strewn neighborhood becomes a new front line for the militia. Essentially a feature-length monologue, Farahani opens up to her unaware husband, telling him all the things she never could before, mostly because she wasn't allowed to say much of anything at all. The majority of the picture takes place in a single room, and The Patience Stone makes the most of its stage-like setting, even hauling out the seldom-used split diopter for one shot. While the structure gets a bit repetitive – especially when she occasionally visits the local brothel where her fount-of-wisdom prostitute aunt is watching Farahani's two daughters – The Patience Stone is an engrossing yet depressing story of a culture in which the only crime worse than being sterile is being a woman.

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