The enduring power of myth takes center stage in Afghani director Atiq Rahimi’s new film, The Patience Stone, which transplants magic and mythology in the modern world with stunning results. This is the story of a woman (Golshifteh Farahani) who married a much older man (Hamid Djavadan), a fighter in the ongoing conflicts in his country. The woman, now in her adult prime, is saddled with two young daughters and a husband, paralyzed and virtually comatose, that she must take care of as best she can.
Fighting decimates the neighborhood and this is a society that, from the outside, seems to care little for the safety and comfort of its women. All the woman can do now is talk to the inert body of her husband who must “listen” to her, maybe for the first time during their marriage, but along the way she comes to see him as her “patience stone,” an ancient artifact that you can tell all of your secrets to, which will offer protection until it is filled to capacity (at which point, it will shatter, relieving all of the burdens of the secrets). The woman speaks freely about life and sexuality, even about a budding relationship with a soldier (Massi Mrowat), but what will happen when her “stone” reaches its breaking point? Rahimi has crafted a fantasy with epic grandeur and real relevancy to today’s world. The Patience Stone is a rare gem indeed. Opens Sept. 27 at The Esquire Theater. (R) Grade: A