"The Patience Stone is based on a real story", Atiq Rahimi


The Patience Stone captures the reality of everyday life for an intelligent woman under the oppressive weight of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Somewhere, in Afghanistan or elsewhere, in a country torn apart by a war… A beautiful woman in her thirties watches over her husband who has fallen into a coma. After ten years of living under his control, with no voice of her own, she finally has the upper hand. And with that, the safety to reveal to him her deepest desires, pains and secrets, stories she could never share with anyone for fear of retribution. And it is an extraordinary confession, without restraint, about love and her anger against a man who never understood her, who mistreated her, who never showed her any respect or kindness.

The Patience Stone is adapted from the best-selling novel by Atiq Rahimi, translated in 33 languages and winner of the Goncourt Prize, the most prestigious book award in France, in 2008.

Adapted by Rahimi and Jean-Claude Carrière (Luis Buñuel’s longtime collaborator), “The Patience Stone” was shot by award-winning cinematographer Thierry Arborgast (Nikita, The Horseman on the Roof, The Fifth Element) and edited by Academy Award nominee Hervé de Luz (The Pianist, The Ghost Writer, Tell No One)

Bijan Tehrani: How did you come up with the idea of making “Patience Stone”?
Atiq Rahimi: The idea came first because there was a book. In 2005, I was invited in Kabul to attend a literary conference and that conference got cancelled because one of the organizers, a woman, who had wrote poetry had been killed and murdered and she had been murdered by her husband. Her husband was in jail and had injected oil in her body and she had just fallen into a coma, I was at the hospital and in the hospital I saw the husband from far away and he was in a coma and he had done that to himself and he was paralyzed and could not talk and that gave me the idea of the story of the Patience Stone and that is what motivated me to write the novel.

BT: This is a very dark and tragic story, how much is based on real life events, how much research did you do before starting the project?
AR: Of course I am from Afghanistan myself so I have met with a lot of people, men and women, and I know a lot of people from Afghanistan. The story of the book is not based on a real story, so of course the situation there is very difficult for women but what I wanted to show was that these women were not only oppressed but they had dreams and fantasies and they had a body and they were a lot more real that way and that is what I felt like showing in the movie.

BT: How did you go about casting the film?
AR: Well it was definitely tricky and one of the producers was not at all sure that we were going to find a woman to encompass that role. that was tricky and then we got to meet the actress and we saw that behind her beauty there was also love and personality and that she could definitely  be that character.

BT: How did you develop the visual style of your film?
AR: The director of photography is very well known, Thierry Arbogast, called me after reading the novel and he called me to tell me how much he enjoyed reading it and that he already had a lot of visual in mind for the movie so when we decided to make the movie, I contacted him and started working with him and he knew my work with colors and paintings so we really started working on such things and I was really inspired by particular paintings by Goya and Persian miniatures as well.

BT: Has this film been shown in Afghanistan and if so how was the reaction?
AR: Well yes it has been quite well received because it has been chosen as the movie to represent Afghanistan at the Academy Awards for the best Foreign Language Picture. The film has been screened at the arts academy in Kabul at the University so a lot of professors and intellectual artist in Kabul have seen it and the movie now is just being screened in different places and been seen by different people so I am not sure how the religious and political leaders have taken it, either they didn’t understand the movie or they just are not expressing themselves or communicating about it for now.

BT: What is your next project?
AR: So I have a new novel, obviously after a movie I need to work on another book. I have another film project that is the story that takes place between Paris and Calcutta, India and the script we just finished writing it and we are going to start shooting in December in January.


About Author

Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children's books.

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