Golshifteh Farahani stars in 'The Patience Stone.' (Detroit Film Theatre)
“The Patience Stone” is a slow revelation of tragedy, loyalty, sensuality and vengeance.
It’s built upon an exceptional performance by the Iranian-born actress Golshifteh Farahani, as a wife (her name is never given) in some war-torn Middle Eastern city.
In a bare-bones apartment, she is tending to her comatose, much older husband, who has been shot in the neck. His wound isn’t the result of a military battle; he was shot during some macho-posturing brawl.
The woman also has two young daughters. And little else. She hangs an IV bag on the wall so that water mixed with sugar and salt can drip into her husband’s mouth, but she can’t afford medicine.
Her neighborhood becomes the front line in whatever war is going on — it’s the Middle East; there’s always a war. With bombs going off nearby and neighbors being killed, the woman takes her daughters to live with her prostitute aunt.
But still she returns to her husband. And as he lays silent, she talks to him. About the ways he abused her. About her regrets and his coldness.
Yet even as she chastises him, she hides him when soldiers invade the apartment.
As days pass, she has to pretend to be a prostitute so soldiers won’t rape her (soldiers only rape “clean” women). And gradually truths she has kept bottled up inside come out.
Since her main co-star is unconscious, this movie is all Farahani. Whenever she goes out in public, the woman is covered head-to-toe in a burka, but within the apartment Farahani is stripping veil after veil off the character.
Directed by Atiq Rahimi and based on his novel, “The Patience Stone” speaks for all oppressed women, for all oppressed people for that matter. By placing it nowhere specific and never even bothering with names, he keeps things universal.
No, not all women wear burkas. But so many of us live beneath veils upon veils.
'The Patience Stone'
Rated R for sexual content, some violence and language
Running time: 102 minutes
At the Detroit Film Theatre