Rated 5//5 Stars
The Stoning of Soraya M. is a bold narrative set during a post-Shah era in a small village in Iran. The story embarks upon the arrival of a journalist, played by Passion of the Christ star, Jim Cavaziel, who hears a woman tell the story of her niece Soraya.
It was just the day before that Soraya had met a brutal fate, a fate ushered by greed, contorted interpretations of faith, harassment, lust, and brutality. The story is weaved vividly and poetically, with the audience unable to escape the reality that these were and continue to be true events in the lives of many women.
Without giving away the narrative, let me say that while it was SorayaM. who was brutally stoned to death without the slightest shed of mercy, it was the entire town that was left scarred by the events – a fact made clear by Director Cyrus Nowrasteh as we witness the change in the townspeople before, during and after the stoning.
While the punishment of stoning is now perhaps well-known to most, the judicial process is something that still lurks in the dark for many. The Stoning of Soraya M. does a solid job is showing how manipulation, self interest, and deceit are often used to deliver a sharia verdict in which women are the victims and in which men are favored.
The film’s message sheds light on the dismal state of women in primitive countries and the brutality justified by sharia law. Yet I imagine many Muslims would protest with the argument that the incident in this film occurred over three decades ago in small towns that are shrinking in numbers. But while small towns may be fewer, I’d like to remind such protestors that small mentalities are on the rise.
Case in point: Would this film ever be shown in a mosque – the one place where it NEEDS to be shown? Would the board of directors for any mosque, or any Imam dare present this movie with courage and without fear that it will somehow taint Islam or their own image?
A true people of God would take this film, share it in their community and take the opportunity to discuss the difference between culture and religion, the duties of marriage, and other topics that are raised in this film. So I ask, where are such people of God?
As the Stoning of Soraya M. tells us, it is easy to mimic civility, courtesy and piety, and that these empty actions are nothing more than the clamorous rattles if they are not reinforced with action.
Photo credits: The official site for The Stoning of Soraya M.
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