The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008)

The Stoning of Soraya M 2008tt1277737.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008)
  • Rate: 7.8/10 total 6,070 votes 
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 9 October 2009 (Sweden)
  • Runtime: USA:114 min | Argentina:114 min
  • Gross: $651,542(USA)(8 November 2009)
  • Director: Cyrus Nowrasteh
  • Stars: Shohreh Aghdashloo, Jim Caviezel and Mozhan Marnò
  • Original Music By: John Debney   
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Car | Village | Iran | Food | Dead Wife

Writing Credits By:

  • Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh (screenplay) &
  • Cyrus Nowrasteh (screenplay)
  • Freidoune Sahebjam (book)

Known Trivia

  • At the location where the jail scene was to be shot a prison riot broke out the day before causing a lockdown and a “prison” had to be constructed.

Plot: A drama set in 1986 Iran and centered on a man, Sahebjam, whose car breaks down in a remote village and enters into a conversation with Zahra… See more »  »

Story: A drama set in 1986 Iran and centered on a man, Sahebjam, whose car breaks down in a remote village and enters into a conversation with Zahra, who relays to him the story about her niece, Soraya, whose arranged marriage to an abusive tyrant had a tragic ending.Written by Anonymous  

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Synopsis: Stranded in the remote Iranian village of Kuhpayeh by car trouble, a journalist (Freidoune Sahebjam) is approached by Zahra, a woman with a harrowing tale to tell about her niece, Soraya, and the bloody circumstances of Soraya’s death, by stoning, the previous day. The two sit down as Zahra recounts the story to Freidoune, who records the conversation with his tape recorder. The journalist must escape with his life to tell the story to the rest of the world.

Ali is the abusive husband of Soraya who tries to get the village’s mullah to convince Soraya to grant him a divorce so that he can marry a 14-year-old. Ali’s marriage to the teenager is conditional on Ali’s ability to save the girl’s father, who has been sentenced to death for an unspecified crime. The mullah proposes that Soraya becomes his lover in exchange for protection and monetary support for Soraya and her two daughters. Soraya refuses. Soraya has two sons whom Ali wants, and who have both turned against her. In a scene where Ali comes home to confront Soraya, a violent argument breaks out, she breaks a dish and Ali beats her, all the while saying things displaying his sexist attitude. Some days following the incident, a woman dies. The mullah, the village’s mayor, and Ali ask Zahra to persuade Soraya to care for the widower. Zahra suggests that Soraya may do the job if she is paid.

Soraya starts working for the widower, and Ali plans to use the unusual circumstance to spread lies that Soraya is being unfaithful to him so that she will be stoned and he can remarry. Ali also knows if Soraya were dead, he would not have to pay child support. Ali and the mullah start a rumor about Soraya’s infidelity so they can charge her with adultery. One day while Zahra is walking in town, she realizes that a rumor has spread that her niece is being unfaithful to her husband.

Ali and the mullah need one more "witness" to Soraya’s "infidelity" to be able to formally charge her, so they visit the widower at home and using threats manipulate the widower into agreeing to backup their story. Soon after, Ali drags Soraya through the streets, beating her and publicly declaring that she has been unfaithful. Zahra intervenes and takes her niece, Ali, the Mullah and the Mayor of the village to her house to talk privately. They bring the widower to the house and after he lies and says that they had engaged in adultery, a trial is pursued. Only men are allowed while Soraya is confined with some women in her house. She is quickly convicted. Zahra tries to flee with her and after realizing she cannot, goes to plead with the mayor for Soraya’s life, even offering to switch places with Soraya. The conviction is upheld though, and as they are preparing for the stoning, the Mayor prays to Allah for a sign if they are not doing the right thing.

Before the actual stoning can begin, a traveling carnival van comes through and tries to perform their act. They are shooed away, where they wait by the sidelines as the stoning begins. Soraya’s father disowns her as he is given the first stone to throw but he misses her repeatedly. A woman in the crowd pleads to the mayor that the stones missing are a sign Soraya is innocent, but none of the men listen. Ali takes up stones and throws them himself. Her two sons are also forced to throw stones. The widower is given two stones to throw but instead walks away. The crowd finally joins in. The stoning stops when she is believed to be dead, but after Ali sees that she is not and the stoning resumes. Soraya finally dies.

Zahra is heard narrating the story to the journalist about her niece. Around this time, the mullah and the widower are informed by Ali that his marriage to the teenaged girl is off, implying that he could not spare her father from execution. As the journalist attempts to leave with his belongings and collect his vehicle after it has been repaired by the widower, the mullah orders a Revolutionary Guard to stop him at gunpoint. They seize his tape recorder and destroy all of the tapes but as the journalist is leaving in his car, Zahra appears out of an alley with the true tape in her hand. As the journalist drives away he stops and grabs the true tape from Zahra and speeds away. Zahra screams that the God that she loves is great and now whole world will know of the injustice that has happened. The movie ends by showing the only known picture of Soraya Manutchehri, taken when she was nine years old.

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Produced By:

  • Todd Burns known as co-producer
  • Diane Hendricks known as executive producer
  • Jason Jones known as associate producer
  • Stephen A. Marinaccio II known as line producer
  • Stephen McEveety known as producer
  • Thomas J. Papa known as executive producer
  • David Segel known as executive producer
  • John Shepherd known as producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Shohreh Aghdashloo known as Zahra
  • Mozhan Marnò known as Soraya M.
  • Jim Caviezel known as Freidoune Sahebjam
  • Navid Negahban known as Ali
  • Ali Pourtash known as Mullah
  • Parviz Sayyad known as Hashem
  • Vida Ghahremani known as Mrs. Massoud
  • Vachik Mangassarian known as Morteza Ramazani – Soraya's Father
  • Bita Sheibani known as Leila
  • Noor Al Taher known as Kataneh
  • Haya Al Taher known as Malaka
  • Khalid Khan known as Warden
  • Sheede Dana known as Second Woman
  • Fay Yan known as Bita
  • Salti Hasan known as Mrs. Hashem
  • Laila Qutub known as Mehri
  • Talal Nabil Morcos known as Kamran
  • Abdullah Shaheen known as Mohsen
  • Shukreyeh Thijeel known as Mourning Woman
  • Fadela Rashem known as Mourning Woman
  • Sabiha Faleh known as Mourning Woman
  • Zoro Shaswar known as Ali's Friend
  • Jalal Zadhaley known as Ali's Friend
  • Aras Raffi known as Ali's Friend
  • Yousef Shweihat known as Ringmaster
  • Rami Hamati known as Circus Boy
  • Fadi Joseph Hamati known as Circus Boy
  • Yasha Keyt known as Servant Girl
  • Prasanna Puwanarajah known as Revolutionary Guard
  • Yahya Hussein known as Mohammed
  • Sahar Bibiyan known as (voice)
  • David Diaan known as Ebrahim (as David Fariborz Davoodian)
  • Maggie Parto known as Vo (uncredited)

..{tab=Supporting Department}Makeup Department:

  • Jason Hamer known as makeup effects supervisor
  • Aimee Macabeo known as special makeup effects: hair technician
  • Mike Mekash known as special makeup effects artist
  • Christien Tinsley known as designer and creator: special make-up effects
  • Hiroshi Yada known as special makeup effects crew: Tinsley Transfers Inc.

Art Department:

  • Rime Al-Jabr known as scenic artist
  • Amin Charif El Masri known as set dresser
  • Sana Hashem known as on-set scenic
  • Fida Ibrahim known as on-set scenic
  • Sana'a Jaber known as assistant property master
  • Samy Keilani known as construction coordinator
  • Karim Kheir known as assistant property master
  • Rima Najdi known as set dresser
  • Zeina Soufan known as scenic
  • Mona Sultan known as art department coordinator/graphic designer
  • Samir Zaidan known as scenic artist
  • Nasser Zoubi known as property master

..{tab=Company}

Production Companies:

  • Roadside Attractions (presents)
  • Mpower Distribution (in association with)
  • Mpower Pictures
  • Prime Meridian Pctures (produced in co-operation with)
  • Fallen Films

Other Companies:

  • Eisner & Frank  legal counsel
  • Identity Studios  titles
  • NovaStar Digital  sound post-production
  • Runway  post-production services

Distributors:

  • Scanbox Entertainment (2009) (Sweden) (theatrical)
  • Accent Film Entertainment (2010) (Australia) (DVD)
  • Emerald (2011) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • Front Row Filmed Entertainment (2009) (United Arab Emirates) (all media) (Middle East)
  • Irfan Film (2009) (Turkey) (all media)
  • Lionsgate Home Entertainment (2010) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Mongrel Media (2010) (Canada) (DVD)
  • Nu Metro Productions (2009) (South Africa) (all media)
  • Paramount Home Entertainment (2010) (Sweden) (DVD)
  • Roadside Attractions (2009) (USA) (all media)
  • Scanbox Entertainment (2009) (Denmark) (all media)
  • Scanbox Entertainment (2009) (Finland) (all media)
  • Scanbox Norge (2009) (Norway) (all media)

..{tab=Other Stuff}

Special Effects:

  • Soho VFX
  • Tinsley Studio (special make-up effects)

Visual Effects by:

  • Christopher C. Brown known as data manager
  • Dave Dean known as digital compositor
  • Christopher Dusendschon known as digital imaging supervisor: iO FILM
  • Martin Hesselink known as visual effects artist
  • Michael Kowalski known as visual effects supervisor: Soho VFX
  • Erwin Lievre known as digital compositor
  • Derick Loo known as visual effects artist: Soho VFX
  • Allan Magled known as visual effects supervisor: Soho VFX
  • Ciaran O'Connor known as digital compositor: Soho VFX
  • Mihaela Orzea known as lead compositor: Soho VFX
  • David Rose known as digital compositor: Soho VFX
  • Frankie Stellato known as animator: SohoVFX
  • Sarah Swick known as production coordinator: Soho VFX
  • David Van Woert known as titles

Release Date:

  • Canada 7 September 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • USA 20 June 2009 (Los Angeles International Film Festival)
  • USA 26 June 2009 (limited)
  • Canada 17 July 2009 (Toronto)
  • Finland 30 August 2009 (Espoo Film Festival)
  • Sweden 9 October 2009
  • Belgium 12 October 2009 (Gent International Film Festival)
  • Finland 16 October 2009
  • Brazil 23 October 2009 (São Paulo International Film Festival)
  • Denmark 23 October 2009
  • Norway 23 October 2009
  • Israel 17 December 2009
  • USA 9 March 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Turkey 14 May 2010
  • Spain 15 October 2010
  • UK 22 October 2010
  • Mexico 13 May 2011
  • Argentina 11 August 2011 (DVD premiere)

MPAA: Rated R for a disturbing sequence of cruel and brutal violence, and brief strong language

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Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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