Saturday, August 14, 2010
THE STONING OF SORAYA M.
Tonight I finally decided to watch a movie that I've had on hand for awhile. I hadn't watched it before as I kinda of figured this would be a tear jerker. I had no idea.
The film is based on a true story; an Iranian woman married to a man who is wealthy with much influence. They have four children: two sons and two daughters. She is met by the local shaman/minister who advises her that if she'll give up her husband and his rights to her and her daughters, in exchange she will receive the house, its belongings, and a stony field in which to grow food. She refuses and the minister continues to proposition her saying that if she'll allow him to come visit her, she will have food to put on the table.
She goes to her aunt, a well respected woman in the community, who questions her on her attempts to make a good marriage. After showing proof of her husband's attention to her body, her aunt is convinced to keep her and her daughters safe. After a man's wife in the community dies, the mayor and minister convince the aunt to let Soraya do his cleaning, cooking, and tending to his son.
Her husband starts to hatch a plan with the minister to see that Soraya is taken care of and out of the picture. They meet with the local mayor, who says that they must present evidence, not just gossip. They come back with witnesses, and a trial is held, without any women present (as was customary). She is found guilty and sentenced to death by stoning.
The day after her death, a French/Iranian journalist becomes stuck in the community after his car breaks down. Her aunt takes him aside and tells him the story.
Soraya's husband comes back through town in his fancy car saying the wedding is off to his young bride, saying how much he wanted her. The witness overhears and in front of the community says I lied for nothing? The mayor learns the truth (though in fact, he had known the truth all along).
When the minister discovers this, he goes berzerk, and places guns on the man if he goes any further. His belongings are destroyed and he is finally allowed to leave. However, what they don't know is that the aunt has the tape, and while he is leaving town, she is able to pass the taped transcript to him.
What results is a book that speaks for the first time on a customary practice against women in the Middle East. A book that perhaps speaks the truth of women having no voice and no rights. Whether or not you know much about world issues, you must watch this movie. My plan is now to get my hands on the book (which has been translated into English). This film makes me appreciate being a woman in North America, having freedom to say what I want and to be with whom I want. I may sometimes have my gender against me, but at the end of day, my rights can go before a court, in which I can be present. We should all be so lucky.