The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008)

I’m at a loss of words after seeing this film: The Stoning of Soraya M.

3472_0A French-Iranian journalist is stuck in a small village in Iran when his car breaks down. He meets Zahra (Shohreh Aghdashloo, Oscar nominee for Hand and the Fog) who wants to tell him the story about Soraya (Mozhan Marno), her niece. Married to Ali (Navid Negahban) with 4 children, Soraya is a devoted wife and mother. Her husband soon finds a new muse in town and plots to get rid of her.

This is one of those movies that will take a while to forget about. I have to credit the director, Cyrus Nowrasteh for making the movie so real and touching. He has rightly captured the feel and brought out emotions from the characters that make you want to cry.

Stoning of women has been around for a while. You can read about the history of stoning here. The plight of women in these countries is something that we just can’t imagine. If it’s a contest between a man and a woman in the court of law, the woman invariably loses as men don’t have to prove their innocence even if they are guilty.

A brilliant and disturbing flick. Warning: might be too unpleasant for some.

My favorite line is a quote by an Iranian poet, Hafiz that was shown in the beginning :

Don’t act like the hypocrite who can conceal his wiles while loudly quoting the Koran.

My rating: 4/5 (had to deduct 0.5 for the 20-minute gruesome stoning sequence)

Credits: Google Images

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

I stumbled upon this art documentary: Exit Through the Gift Shop. Here’s what I think.

Exit through the gift shop

The film is about Theirry Guetta, an amateur LA artist, originally from France. He runs a small clothing store and is obsessed about filming everything he sees. On his visit to France, he was found by the street artists who wanted him to film their work and document it. Theirry had now found his focus and wasn’t going to let go. But he did nothing more than filming.

Banksy, a famous graffiti artist was someone whom Thierry hadn’t got the opportunity to film. He badly wanted to film him and one day he got a surprise phone call that would change his life. Banksy, was camera shy and wanted Thierry to document his work on his own terms. Little did he know that Thierry had no intention of editing his film rolls and creating a film. In the process Theirry learnt a lot about street art.

Soon, Thierry’s wife, Deborah Guetta, got bored of his expeditions and reminded him that he had a family back home in LA. But Theirry wasn’t going to stop there. He started his own street art and also made a short film with all his recordings. Bangsy saw the not-so-good film and suggested that he should focus on street art and stop filming. Theirry takes up his street art seriously and starts calling himself Mr. Brainwash. He decides to host an art show similar to Bangsy but on a much larger scale. Bangsy would soon regret helping Theirry with his suggestion.

The film also contains footage from other graffiti artists like Shepard Fairey and Invader. Banksy’s great direction to capture some stunning artwork is really admirable. I’m usually not good at sitting through a whole documentary, but I as fascinated by this one. It had my entire attention till the end!

Nominated for an Oscar and many more awards, this documentary is definitely worth a watch. Art lovers will definitely find this quite impressive!

My rating: 4/5 (an extra 0.5 for showing me how awesome street art could be!)

Credits: Google Images