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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 change."

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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