The Stoning of Soraya M.

The Stoning of Soraya M., directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh, ia based on an event in 1986. The venue is a small town in Iran, where Soraya (played by Mozhan Marnò) was stoned. When the film begins, a journalist’s car has broken down in that town. Freidoune Sahebjam (played by Jim Caviezel), an Iranian who lives in France (and writes up the event as a 1994 best seller now banned in Iran), pays a bundle to have an auto mechanic, Hashem (played by Parviz Sayyad), fix the car despite protesting that he is tired. Zahra (played by Shohreh Aghdashloo) insists on interacting with him, so he visits her house and listens to her story about her niece, who was stoned the previous day. The reason for the stoning is that the niece’s husband, Ali (played by Navid Negahban), was interested in marrying another woman but could not afford to pay for two households, so he arranges for her to be paid as housekeeper for Hashem, who recently lost his wife. Then the husband spreads rumors that more than housekeeping has been taking place, Hashem is intimidated into false testimony, and a secret trial is held. The stoning scene is brutal and lengthy so that filmviewers will know how evil the practice is. The ending provides a little suspense. Titles at the end indicate that the practice continues in Iran and elsewhere despite official denials. The Political Film Society, accordingly, has nominated The Stoning of Soraya M. as best film exposé and best film on human rights of 2009. MH