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The Plot-This movie is based upon an actual incident which occurred in a small town in Iran. A journalist is trave;ing through Iran when the radiator on his car breaks down and he is towed to this town. There, while waiting for the car to be fixed, a woman, overhearing he is a journalist , accosts him and asks him to listen and record her story of a woman called Soraya M.
Soraya, a woman, probably in her mid to late forties, is married and has four children ( two boys and two girls). Her husband is dissatified with the marriage and claims his wife don't speak to him. Sex is not mentioned but I imagine it is not exactly being shared. Soraya has another story as she shows the bruises where he beat her to an older friend (the widowed woman telling her story to the journalist). In addition he has managed to turn her sons against her.
The plot thickens when ,the husband admits to the village mullah (religious leader) that he wants to marry a sixteen year old girl he believes would make a perfect wife (right) ,and move to the city with his sons . The mullah is blackmailed into approaching Soraya with an insufficient offer to divorce him, including keeping the daughters. Soraya naturally , with no real income, refuses. The husband continues to froilic with other women while Soraya accepts a job , offered by the mullah, her husband and the town mayor, caring for the illerate village mechanic ( who recently lost his wife) and his retarded son.
However ,the husband wants to speed things up and starts rumors that Soraya was unfaithful to him with the mechanic. Unfaithfulness by the sharia or Islamic law is punishable by stoning. The husband manages to get the mechanic to testify that she slept in his bed (not that she had sex with him). The mayor calls a meeting of some of the village men, who based on the the word of the husband and the mechanic, is found guilty of being unfaithful and is to be stoned in one hour. Soraya was not present at the meeting ,nor did she have any representation. The town children and ypunger men gleefully gathered rocks for the sentence to be carried out.
In the end, the husband didn't get bto marry his underage bride, because her father was arrested. So he calmy rode off into the sunset. The mayor finally realized that Soraya was innocent, when the mechanic confessed that he was forced to lie. In the end the journalist managed to get the tape out of the town, despite their attempts to stop him.
The Death Scene- The death scene was one of the most horrorific and well acted death scenes I have ever witnessed on film. Everyone in the audience was cringing as the stones struck Soraya. The scene lasted at least 15 to 20 minutes so you couldn't look away for a little while to escape what you were seeing on the screen. If you are a blood or gore fan, this is for you. Her face, her white dress and the ground were covered in blood.
The killing was almost ritualistic. First Soraya's arms were tied behind her back and then she was buried waist deep in the ground, so there is no chance of avoiding the stones. The father (yes her father), after denouncing her, was given the fist two stones, but could not hit her from the carefully measured distance. The husband went next and naturally had no trouble hitting her in the face and head. The sons went next and also managed to hit the target. When the stones were offered to the mechanic, he refused to throw them and removed his son from the display. After everyone joined in for a while, the husband walked over to Soraya and discoverd she was still alive ,to which he exclaimed, "The cunt is still alive." This led to more stoning until they were satisfied that she was dea
Overall- The acting was good, especially the two women, Soraya and the old women, but the male parts seem overdirected, especially the man who played the mullah.You would expect him, any moment to tweek his mustache or beard to prove he is the villain.
The photography and editing was well done, and the location, a broken down village, was well chosen. The crumbling stoe building could very well be a metaphor for the crumbling of any new ideas .
The Rating- One of the problems with this film is that it overstates its message ,that in some areas of the world , women and some men (men have been stoned too) have no rights. It is laid on with a trowel , when a less heavy handed approach should have been used.
What also came across to me was the fact that man has mansged to make religion a victim by manipulating it to their own needs and ideas. I give this movie a 7.5
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