The Patience Stone @ The Ross

'The Woman' (Golshifteh Farahani) on her way to see her Aunt

‘The Woman’ (Golshifteh Farahani) on her way to see her Aunt

What does it take to get your partner to listen to you? To hear, I mean, to really hear your cares, your needs; your joy and happiness? Especially when you live and exist in a culture that demands your silence to privilege the male in the household? Well Atiq Rahimi brilliantly explores these questions in his richly textured film The Patience Stone.

Set in war torn Afghanistan, an unnamed married couple of two girls are challenged furiously by the incapacitation of the husband. He cannot speak; he cannot move; he does not blink one eyelid. He is on his back 24/7 and is kept alive only by a tube carrying salt and water through his body and the daily nursing of his wife. His immobilization begs her question to him: “Can you hear me?” His silence also brings about her act of storytelling–really ‘Confessions of an Afghan Wife.’ He is the “patience stone” or the stone that you pour out your inner most secrets; and it bears all of them until it disintegrates under the pressure of carrying your burdens. Then the storyteller is free from the past.

The Woman 'confesses' to The Man (Hamid Djavadan)

The Woman ‘confesses’ to The Man (Hamid Djavadan)

In the beginning, her stories are not of any importance. She tells the story about her father and how his overzealous love for his pheasants motivates her to set his prize pheasant free for the neighborhood cat to devour; or the story of her marriage to her husband his absence is quite amusing; and the husband breathes through these stories without any indication that he has heard a word. It is when this Afghan wife confesses to the strategies she deploys for motherhood and family that the husband’s eyes begin to blink.

Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani and Hamidrez Javdan are fabulous in their roles as the unnamed husband and wife. Javdan deserves an honorable mention for his ability to stare without blinking for the majority of the film.

The Patience Stone plays through October 24 at the Ross Media Arts Center in Lincoln.

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