Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"The Stoning of Soraya M."

A friend of mine, Dave Gergeni, brought a NewsBusters story to my attention that he had ran across on this film. I had told Dave that I was troubled by watching this film. The story itself was very interesting and quite disturbing, all at the same time. The movie is set in an Iranian village in 1986 and is based on true events. A beautiful, innocent women is betrayed by her husband & he falsely accuses her of adultery, so that he will be free to take a young child as his new wife. The penalty for adultery in Iran for women, is death by stoning. The village is ran by the male power structure that hides behind it's religion. The poor woman has only one friend who can help, a wise older women, played by Shohreh Aghdashloo, ( who was wonderful in "HOUSE OF SAND and FOG") and is equally outstanding here. Her friend first tries to plead with the city powers to be, and then after losing that fight, risks her own life, by telling her story to a journalist who has stopped in town due to car trouble. The journalist, (Jim Caviezel, of "The Passion of Christ") smuggles her story out of Iran and tells the world. It sounds like a great story right? I normally would have given this film a 4 out of 5. The reason I didn't, was it's pretty hard to stomach much of the film. I was furious at the towns leaders and the husband was just pure evil. He gloats at the way he is able to manipulate their laws which are pretty archiac. Women are truly nothing but property to do with as they wish and may dispose of them on a whim. Animals are truly treated better in our country. However, the part I couldn't stomach was the actual scene were the poor girl is stoned to death. It seems to last forever ! Her father, her sons, her husband, her neighbors all join in throwing stones at her. The scene literally turned my stomach and all I could think of was that NO ONE deserves to die this way, it's barbaric. If you don't hate the husband as much as you've ever hated anyone after this event.... then I worry about you and us all. Now, having said this, I plead with you, to rent it and watch it one time. If you didnt like "The Passion of The Christ" because of the flogging scene, then you won't like this either. But, this film as hard as it is to watch at times, its story deserves to be told and discussed. In a quote from the article my friend handed me, it says "It addresses misogyny, injustice, human rights abuses and narrow religiosity. It is anti-violence and deeply pro-life, in the broadest sense of the term".In short, Stephen F. Hayes wrote "it is an important film" and it should have recieved attention from the people who like to think of films as important. But the people who control Hollywood's most presigious awards ignored it.The film ran afoul of some elite sensiblities. Hollywood reviewers & human rights activist both condemded the film for its "crude story telling" and its stark delineation of good and evil. One of those same reviewers who criticizes both this film & Passion, praises Quentin Tarantino's bloody, "Reservoir Dogs" as a "critic's choice". The film was screened at several film festivals to enthusiastic audiences. The film won the "Justice" award at the Berlin Film Festival, the "Critics Choice Award" from the Broadcast Critics Film Association, was runner-up as the "Audience Favorite" at the Toronto Film Festival, and won the "Audience Choice Award" at the L.A. Film Festival. The USA Today called it "emotionally explosive" and The Wall Street Journal praised it as well. Peter Brunette of The Hollywood Reporter, says "It's a powerful piece, "and the denunciation of a system in which an accused woman has to prove her own innocence ( while in the case of a man, his guilt has to be proven by others), is strong and clear and unforgettable." So...with all that critical acclaim it surely won some major awards right, WRONG ! The article states that some have responded with "we can't judge other cultures" and says "the film portrays all men as villanous". Say what ? These people "Whomever they may be" don't seem to want you to see this picture. I would love to hear from you what you thought of this film. Please, encourage others to gut it out and then pass on their comments.

No comments:

Post a Comment