Category Archives: Non-Fiction Films

Pray The Devil Back To Hell

International Women’s Day is fast approaching.  It’s amazing how time flies when you count the months in terms of school breaks!

Early last year the library bought a wonderful film (and we’ve been buying more of them!) about the incredible true story of a group of women who fought, not with guns, but with their voices for peace in Liberia.  This film made such an impact on me when I watched it, that when I was thinking of what I was going to base my “Celebrate the Courage of Women” board, this film automatically jumped into my head.  Pray The Devil Back To Hell is a definite “must see” film on March 8 appropriate for grade 8 – 12. Just please note that there are scenes of violence as well as scenes showing child soldiers (a common practice within militia groups).

 

Other films @ SGSS to show your class on March 8

  • The Stoning of Soraya M.  – Rated R for the graphic and prolonged stoning scene.  Please see my earlier post on this movie for more info!
  • Women Without MenRated 18A for nudity. To learn more about the film click HERE

 

  • Sophie Scholl: The Final DaysRated 14A

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The Stoning of Soraya M.

We now have this explosive film @ SGSS!

From the producer of the Passion of the Christ comes this chilling true story.  Academy Award nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo stars as Zahra, a woman with a burning secret.  When a journalist (Jim Caviezel) is stranded in her remote village, Zahra takes a bold chance to reveal what the villagers will stop at nothing to hide.  Thus begins the story of Soraya (Mozhan Marno) a kind woman whose cruel, divorce-seeking husband trumps up false charges of infidelity against her, charges that carry an unimaginable penalty.  Soraya and Zahra attempt to navigate the villagers’ scheming, lies and deceit to prove her innocence.  But when all else fails, Zahra must risk everything and use the only weapon she has left – her voice – to share Soraya’s shocking story with the world.

I found this movie while browsing Mongrel Media looking for an entirely different film.  The title is what drew me in at first.  While I knew that stoning was still an acceptable form of punishment in some countries, I had never really heard anything more about it in a way that would… make it real (if that makes any sense).   And this movie does a good job of making it real, with 20 minutes of brutal stoning scenes.  I wanted to fast forward through it, but felt that would defeat the purpose.

And I would have to agree with the review by Stephen Cole from the Globe and Mail.  In the end, this film made me angry at the injustice of Soraya’s death.  On a less pleasant note, it also (until I stopped myself and went “Whoa now, they’re not all like that!”) made me feel very negatively against the culture that could allow this type of treatment of women. Which is just wrong! I have a lot of friends who belong to this culture so I know for a fact that this is not what they all believe.  But I still found myself with those prejudices after watching this film.

As an educational tool, I believe that this film would be an excellent resource within women studies or perhaps a class that covers the time period of Iran before and during Taliban rule.  But I would highly encourage talking to your students about the effects of this film and ask them to critically evaluate and discuss the negative attitudes about the culture this film portrays.  It could make for some interesting papers!

But despite the anger of the film, the actors and actresses make this film really wonderful to view.  Especially the strong performance given by Shohreh Aghdashloo who plays the outspoken Zahra.  Watch it, and judge for yourself.

Shohreh talks about her role in The Stoning of Soraya M., and about her breakout role in The House of Sand and Fog.

 

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Filed under Non-Fiction Films