Movies You Need To See: The Stoning of Soraya M

By: Justin Dee

justin-dee@utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop)

Horrifyingly beautiful is how one might describe Cyrus Nowrasteh’s 2008 film The Stoning of Soraya M, about a women’s untimely death at the hands of family, friends, and neighbors.

The Stoning of Soraya M  Movie Poster

Click on image for cast and director interviews

  • Release Date: September 27, 2008
  • Staring :Shohreh Aghdahloo, Mozhan Marnò, Navid Negahban, Jim Caviezel
  • Domestic Gross Revenue: $636,246
  • Foreign Gross Revenue:  $349,795

In the film, based on the book of the same name, Soraya’s widowed aunt, Zahra (Shohreh Aghdahloo) recounts the true events that led to Soraya (Mozhan Marnò) tragic death to French-Iranian Journalist Freidoune Sahebjam (Jim Caviezel) who happens upon the remote Iranian village in 1986.

Soraya’s adulterous husband Ali (Navid Negahban) hatches a plan to have her killed using trumped up adultery charges so that he can marry a 14 year-old girl.

All the acting  in the film has perfect  pitch, the characters are believable and multi-dimensional.

One of the film’s stand out performances is that of Shohreh Aghdahool as Zahra. Aghdahloo does an excellent job portraying  both the character’s strength in standing up to this injustice and anguish in watching a loved one die in such a horrible fashion.

Shohreh Aghdahool (Top) was nominated for an Oscar for her 2003 role in a House of Sand and Fog

“Against them is one strong voice,” wrote Roger Ebert In his 2009 review. “The widow Zahra, Soraya’s aunt. She knows all the players and all the motives and publicly calls them on it, to no avail.”

The film also serves as a window into a society and practice that most viewers only see in news report.

Steven Redd,  of Memphis Tenn. said, ” While we are repeatedly told of the ordeals that some of these women face to connect with one and experience the stoning with her gives a very human element to the situation over there.”

Soraya M (Mozhan Marnò) about to be stoned by her farther, husban, sons and other men of the villiage

Soraya M (Mozhan Marnò) about to be stoned by her father, husband, sons and other men of the villiage

The stoning sequence in the film may be overwhelming for some views but it is an important part of the film that should not be missed.

Roger Ebert wrote in his 2008 review, “The Stoning of Soraya M. has such a powerful stoning sequence that I recommend it if only for its brutal ideological message.”

The Stoning of Soraya M is currently available on DVD.

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