Monday, June 7, 2010

The Stoning of Soraya M.

Unlike Departures, I probably can't say enough about The Stoning of Soraya M. This is one of those films where the message matters more than the acting, the cinematography, or even the script. This film is about women's rights, cruel and unusual punishment, and religion. Think of this film as a combination of The Last King of Scotland, for its storyline, and Deepa Mehta's Water, for its social commentary.

As the title suggests, the film is about the stoning of Soraya M. who is played by Mozhan Marno and not Shohreh Aghdashloo as the trailer might misleading. (Aghdashloo starred in one of my favorite films--House of Sand and Fog.) The leading actress in the film is indeed Aghdashloo who holds the film together beautifully with her powerful and dramatic acting. Many critics complained about the film's glorification of the stoning scene, prolonging the scene while adding no real and meaningful substance to the film. I too agree. But at the end of the day, a film is out to make money. Hollywood is not art for art's sake.

While watching the film, there were so many moments when I thought to myself "this is not right!" "something needs to be done." It disgusted me that the mayor and mullah, the religious cleric, allowed the stoning to take place yet are afraid of the news of this event leaving the town. Moreover, the stoning was treated as a ceremony and a sport where the crowd anticipated the event and cheered when Soraya M. was struck.

This film further strengths my thoughts on religion. If you know me, you probably know I am quite the atheist. I hope that this film and the book of the same title that the film is based on are generating discussions on the issues mentioned. And I do hope in the near future that problems with women's rights, cruel and unusual punishments, and religion in Iran and other Middle Eastern nations will be alleviated.

No comments: