Revolving around a wife who cares for her husband in a comatose state in a war-ravished town in the Middle East, one is led to believe the director is pointing to his home country of Afghanistan for inspiration.
Golshifteh Farahani’s performance is one of the strongest I have seen by an actress, however, I think the director Atiq Rahimi ultimately asks too much from the actress and the audience as she is exposed to a life of brutality in a place where women are constantly oppressed.
There is no subtleness in the film. It is relentlessness in the depiction of women and in the worst possible conditions with no room for hope.
There is a total breakdown of a society as the story takes place in the middle of a war zone that drives extreme behavior. The town depicted in the film is in a nowhere land and ruled by men who freely wield automatic weapons.
The woman’s confessions are extraordinary and without restraint as she opens up about sex and love, her anger against a man who never understood her and mistreated her and those whom never showed her any respect or kindness. The story is known through the Muslim world.
Both the writer/director and the actress, who plays his central character, have lived and worked in a manner that defies the stricture of their respective cultures’ religious prohibitions.
Since leaving Afghanistan at the age of 20, in the mid-1990s to become a novelist, filmmaker, winning the Prix Goncourt in 2008, Rahimi has achieved both admiration and infamy in his homeland and in the Muslim world.
Aside from the great acting, the violence in his film makes it hard to watch. More than once, I thought of leaving the theater.