The Middle Eastern drama “The Patience Stone” is an intensely claustrophobic viewing experience, even if it’s more of a play on film than a cinematically imagined movie.
The movie is propelled by a commanding performance by the Iranian-born actress Golshifteh Farahani, who plays a young woman caught in a wartorn part of Afghanistan (we presume) tending to her much older husband (Hamid Djavadan), left paralyzed and mute by a bullet in his neck. Alone and going stir-crazy, she starts talking nonstop to her unresponsive husband, using him as a “patience stone,” which in folklore is a rock that will carry a woman’s most unbearable secrets.
Afghan-born director Atiq Rahimi, co-writing with the veteran French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere, makes palpable the woman’s fear — of being killed by bombs, or being caught seen without her burqa — within the confines of her house and courtyard.
Farahani takes charge of the movie as her character careens from devoutly Muslim to defiantly independent.
‘The Patience Stone’
Opens today at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for sexual content, some violence and language; in Persian with subtitles; 102 minutes.