THE PATIENCE STONE
About the Production
"Change doesn't come through guns -- it comes through culture, and women change the culture,"
says Atiq Rahimi, director and co-writer of The Patience Stone, adapted from his Goncourt
Prize-winning novel of the same name. "Afghan women are strong. In the west Afghan women
are seen simplistically as victims of oppression -- and my heroine is certainly that, but the
important thing to understand is she is much more than that. Afghan women have the same
desires, emotions, and complexities as women everywhere, and they are a powerful force for
While the wartime setting in The Patience Stone is never explicitly stated as Afghanistan, "It is
clearly Kabul," says producer Michael Gentile. "The conflict doesn't have to be named. There's
a universality to the story, and the folklore of the "patience stone" -- syngue sabour -- is known
throughout the Muslim world."
Describing the metaphor that anchors his story, Rahimi explains, "Everybody knows songs and
stories about the syngue sabour. In very closed societies with so much censorship and
prohibition, it symbolizes a common yearning to pour out feelings and desires that are kept
locked away." When the heroine dares to speak frankly to her paralyzed husband, he becomes
her patience stone, absorbing her cares and secrets and enabling her self-discovery. "Shame
about the human body is one of the fundamental forms of oppression," says Rahimi, "And she
learns about her own body."
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