[critical] Syngué Sabour – Pierre de Patience

At the foot of the mountains of Kabul, a war hero lies in a coma ; his young wife to his bedside and prays to bring him back to life. The civil war tearing the city ; the fighters are at their door. The woman needs to flee with her two children, abandon her husband and flee to the other end of the city, in a brothel kept by her aunt. Back with her husband, she is forced to love by a young fighter. Against all expectations, it reveals itself, becomes aware of his body, frees his word to confide to her husband about his memories, his most intimate desires. Up to its shameful secrets.

Author’s Note


Release Date : February 20, 2013

Directed by Atiq Rahimi

With Golshifteh Farahani, Hamidreza Javdan, Hassina Burgan

Film franco-germano-afghan

Duration : 1h42min

Original title : Syngué Sabour – Pierre de Patience

Trailer :

This film is an adaptation of a novel. This novel written by the director of the film. A novel which won him the Goncourt prize in 2008. Atiq Rahimi has therefore decided to continue the adventure with his novel through films. But we all know that adapting a novel on the big screen deprives them of certain things. We saw it with On the road by Walter Salles, adapted from the novel of the same name written by Kerouac. Even if the film tells the same story, it doesn’t have the same clarity and above all, the staging can deprive him of the full extent of the words chosen. In fact, it is almost impossible to capture in a movie (in detail) what the novel contains.

Atiq Rahimi talks about several things in the film. But it will succeed in connecting all of these themes brilliantly. We will speak of emancipation, of freedom, of family, of religion, of war. It lifts the veil on several taboos with a heroin shot in a behind closed doors, sensitive and tragic. A sensitivity that is felt through the objects that surround him. As the Qur’an, the objects of medical, the photo of the husband in a coma, a curtain that serves for a hiding place, etc And also tragic with these irruptions and sudden soldiers, these shots of bombs in the walls, these broken windows, etc

This tragic side reinforces the theme of war. Because in the midst of all the weapons, the woman must make clear. She falls quietly in the cellar or remain still when the soldiers arrived at her home. She runs (in the few scenes outside) to avoid the exchange of fire, she is shocked and atristée when she discovers the neighbors murdered, she wants at any price to protect her children by leading them away from the places of combat. This is a woman in the pursuit of survival, in the heart of the war, a woman universal which shows these poor victims of war who have not asked for anything to anyone, and yet suffer the war with full force.

Atiq Rahimi speaks to us of emancipation, of affirmation of desires, of family, of freedom, of religion and of war in a behind-closed-doors consuming, sensitive and bright.

And this woman is muslim. Atiq Rahimi then inserts religion into his narrative. This young woman, with a husband much older than she. A young woman who commits the sin of revealing his secrets. A young woman who kisses the Koran. A young woman who submitted to her husband. And I could go on. It is, therefore, a character who lifts the veil of religion. Such as the poster of the film : what is hidden under this veil ? That is what you need to know that you don’t know usually ? And the fact that it’s a female character that embodies all of this, it is all the more powerful in view of its position in the muslim society.

This allows him to create an emancipation and an affirmation of sexual. It will eventually reveal all of its secrets. She is engaged to her husband (in a coma), it is bared so that she should not. And all these confessions allows him to ask questions about herself, about her life. A woman who is led to rediscover the heart of a big mess that destroys everything (the war), wearing of the convictions on the heart (religion) :as a new start. It is a revelation on the desires of a woman who should not even have. This film is mostly a portrait of a woman divided between his desires and loyalty (in the marriage and religion).

Empowerment and affirmation of desires that will allow the heroine to take the path of freedom. A freedom she will acquire through a stone of patience. Indeed, patience pays a day and it is necessary to know to wait for ownership of the freedom. The stone of patience will prove to be the husband of the young woman, who will provide him with freedom (you’ll see how). But to gain this freedom, the young woman will have to make sacrifices. The soldier in love, abandon his daughters, to enter the lie, etc

The staging, by Atiq Rahimi, is not that sensual. The huis-clos is also devouring. In this story, the young woman is engaged to her husband as she engages the viewer. It is there, sitting next to her, listening to her fabulous monologue (albeit with some replicas and some of the scenes very educational) and there is this liberation of a soul trapped in it. But this liberation has a price, that of devouring all that she has. All of this offered by a magnificent actress in every sense of the term. A movie that has the soul and grace of a tragedy ancient.

Finally, Syngué Sabour is a film that shines with a thousand lights. Although slightly fire a few times, it will not be thanks to his actress fabulous. A film that raises the sails on the religion at the time the war broke. A young woman who must undergo sacrifices the price of freedom. Atiq Rahimi speaks to us of emancipation, of affirmation of desires, of family, of freedom, of religion and of war in a behind-closed-doors consuming, sensitive and bright. Very beautiful and poignant adaptation of the Goncourt prize 2008.

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